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Pgi Develops a 'virtual Psychiatrist'

By Hindustan Times

January 13, 2015

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Researchers in India have developed an Internet-based application that diagnoses and treats common psychiatric disorders in adults and children.

The researchers say their "virtual psychiatrist" could be used to deliver mental health services.

The fully automated application with a built-in logical support system has been used with more than 2,500 patients, according to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER). "It has also been subjected to extensive checks by comparing the system diagnosis and treatment plan with that by an expert and qualified psychiatrist for its performance," says PGIMER's Savita Malhotra.

The Institute's psychiatry department collaborated with medical experts and computer scientists on the four-year project, with the goal of providing non-specialists at remote sites with assistance in diagnosing and treating mental illness on their own, with minimal supervision from the nodal center.

Malhotra believes the application will serve as a cost-effective solution for easing India's shortage of mental health experts, and she expects the virtual psychiatrist eventually will replace the need for a psychiatrist. "People with limited experience in treating psychiatric disorders can be trained to use the application after 10-12 hours of training, which is itself conducted over the net," Malhotra notes.

From Hindustan Times
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