The Crossroads of Digital Phenotyping

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The term ‘Digital Phenotyping’ has started to appear with increasing regularity in medical research, especially within psychiatry. This aims to bring together digital traces (e.g., from smartphones), medical data (e.g., electronic health records), and lived experiences (e.g., daily activity, location, social contact), to better monitor, intervene, and diagnose various psychiatric conditions. However, is this notion any different from digital traces or the quantified self? While digital phenotyping has the potential to transform and revolutionize medicine as we know it; there are a number of challenges that must be addressed if research is to blossom. At present, these issues include; (1) methodological issues, for example, the lack of clear theoretical links between digital markers (e.g., battery life, interactions with smartphones) and condition relapses, (2) the current tools being employed, where they typically have a number of security or privacy issues, and are invasive by nature, (3) analytical methods and approaches, where I question whether research should start in larger-scale epidemiological scale or in smaller (and potentially highly vulnerable) patient populations as is the current norm, (4) the current lack of security and privacy regulation adherence of apps used, and finally, (5) how do such technologies become integrated into various healthcare systems? This aims to provide deep insight into how the Digital Phenotyping could provide huge promise if we critically reflect now and gather clinical insights with a number of other disciplines such as epidemiology, computer- and the social sciences to move forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Early online date23 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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