[Assessment of mood disorders by passive data gathering: The concept of digital phenotype versus psychiatrist's professional culture].Encephale. 2018 Apr; 44(2):168-175.E
The search for objective clinical signs is a constant practitioners' and researchers' concern in psychiatry. New technologies (embedded sensors, artificial intelligence) give an easier access to untapped information such as passive data (i.e. that do not require patient intervention). The concept of "digital phenotype" is emerging in psychiatry: a psychomotor alteration translated by accelerometer's modifications contrasting with the usual functioning of the subject, or the graphorrhea of patients presenting a manic episode which is replaced by an increase of SMS sent. Our main objective is to highlight the digital phenotype of mood disorders by means of a selective review of the literature.
We conducted a selective review of the literature by querying the PubMed database until February 2017 with the terms [Computer] [Computerized] [Machine] [Automatic] [Automated] [Heart rate variability] [HRV] [actigraphy] [actimetry] [digital] [motion] [temperature] [Mood] [Bipolar] [Depression] [Depressive]. Eight hundred and forty-nine articles were submitted for evaluation, 37 articles were included.
For unipolar disorders, smartphones can diagnose depression with excellent accuracy by combining GPS and call log data. Actigraphic measurements showing daytime alteration in basal function while ECG sensors assessing variation in heart rate variability (HRV) and body temperature appear to be useful tools to diagnose a depressive episode. For bipolar disorders, systems which combine several sensors are described: MONARCA, PRIORI, SIMBA and PSYCHE. All these systems combine passive and active data on smartphones. From a synthesis of these data, a digital phenotype of the disorders is proposed based on the accelerometer and the GPS, the ECG, the body temperature, the use of the smartphone and the voice. This digital phenotype thus brings into question certain clinical paradigms in which psychiatrists evolve.
All these systems can be used to computerize the clinical characteristics of the various mental states studied, sometimes with greater precision than a clinician could do. Most authors recommend the use of passive data rather than active data in the context of bipolar disorders because automatically generated data reduce biases and limit the feeling of intrusion that self-questionnaires may cause. The impact of these technologies questions the psychiatrist's professional culture, defined as a specific language and a set of common values. We address issues related to these changes. Impact on psychiatrists could be important because their unity seems to be questioned due to technologies that profoundly modify the collect and process of clinical data.