Psychiatric assessment of symptom severity is conducted according to patients’ self-report or physicians’ clinical judgement. Assessing severity without objective criteria is a severe barrier to decision making on the courses of treatment, treatment evaluation, or outcome assessment of clinical research. Psychiatrists usually evaluate visible or audible symptoms such as facial expression, action, or voice among their patients, as well as subjective symptoms such as mood, concentration, or fatigue. For example, patients with depressive symptoms show little expression, weak and monotone voice, and slow reaction. Quantification and visualization of subjective psychiatric symptoms using the latest technologies can lead to objective assessment of severity and improvement in the quality of clinical practice and research.
The PROMPT project is supported by “A project for the research and development of auxiliary technology in medical service” of the Japan Agency for medical Research and Development (AMED), and with the goal of developing a device which can deliver real time assessment information on psychiatric symptoms, using technology to quantify facial expression, voice, and action. This project has began in November 2015 with the cooperation from a wide range of research disciplines, laboratories, universities, and business companies. Psychiatric diagnosis is still in a state of confusion due to the development of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -fifth edition- (DSM-V) by the American Psychiatry Association (APA) and Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The difficulty of assessment and treatment have caused withdrawal of some pharmaceutical companies from the development of cures for psychiatric diseases. We aim to bring a wave to the future with the use of electronic device and psychiatric diagnostics using computational psychiatry as a new paradigm for psychiatric treatment.