Patient electronic communication data in clinical care: what is known and what is needed

Tenzin C. Lhaksampa, Julie Nanavati, Margaret S. Chisolm, Leslie Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and physical distancing guidelines around the world have resulted in unprecedented changes to normal routine and increased smartphone use to maintain social relationships and support. Reports of depressive and anxiety symptom are on the rise, contributing to suffering among people—especially adolescents and young adults—with pre-existing mental health conditions. Psychiatric care has shifted primarily to telehealth limiting the important patient nonverbal communication that has been part of in-person clinical sessions. Supplementing clinical care with patient electronic communication (EC) data may provide valuable information and influence treatment decision making. Research in the impact of patient EC data on managing psychiatric symptoms is in its infancy. This review aims to identify how patient EC has been used in clinical care and its benefits in psychiatry and research. We discuss smartphone applications used to gather different types of EC data, how data have been integrated into clinical care, and implications for clinical care and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-381
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Review of Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Mood and anxiety disorders
  • clinical care
  • coronavirus
  • digital biomarker
  • patient electronic communication
  • symptom sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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