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Psychiatry App Supports Clinical Decisions

Psychiatry App Supports Clinical Decisions

When Joe Bienvenu was a medical resident, he carried small reference guides in the pockets of his white coat. Today, he says, “if you ask medical students to look something up, they use a mobile device.”

The times have changed, and now Bienvenu finds himself as one of two editors-in-chief of a mobile and Web reference guide for psychiatry. “Instead of flipping through pages, you can click links to get exactly what you are looking for,” says the Johns Hopkins psychiatrist. “Plus, it weighs a lot less than a paper guide.”

The Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide, also called the Phipps Guide, is preceded by digital clinical decision support guides on antibiotics, diabetes and HIV. Powered by Unbound Medicine and available to view on the Web or to download as a mobile app for Android or Apple devices, health providers now have the most up-to-date guidance at their fingertips.

“Primary care physicians prescribe three-quarters of the antidepressants in the United States,” says Bienvenu. “I think the psychiatry guide will be extremely helpful to them and other providers seeking evidence-based guidance for diagnosis and treatment.”

For example, if a patient reports sadness, a clinician can quickly view the definitions for a major depressive episode versus another depressive syndrome. Providers can review how common conditions are and in what populations, as well as the medical and nonmedical treatments.

Some sections of the guide include additional information on emergency psychiatry, suicidality, homicidality, involuntary commitment and the priority in which the patient needs to be seen. “It can help with triage decisions,” says Bienvenu. “When should a referral be made? Does the patient need to be in the hospital?”

Outside of Johns Hopkins, the guides are sold in bundles or as stand-alone products. Inside Johns Hopkins, when logged in to the network, employees with a JHMI email account have free access to content at hopkinsguides.com.

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