A Novel Screening and Diagnostic Tool for Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Disorders for Telepsychiatry

Indian J Psychol Med. Jul-Sep 2015;37(3):288-98. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.162921.


Background: A diagnostic tool designed as part of a telepsychiatry application for diagnosis and management of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders in India was developed considering the paucity of trained child psychiatrists and mental health professionals in India.

Materials and methods: The diagnostic tool consisted of screening and 10(th) revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) criteria-based diagnostic algorithms for 18 psychiatric disorders seen in childhood and adolescence. Accuracy of diagnoses and feasibility of use of the tool was examined by comparing it with detailed semi-structured clinical evaluations by a qualified psychiatrist with 50 psychiatric patients (children and adolescents).

Statistical analysis: Descriptive analyses and paired t-tests were conducted to compare the mean number of diagnosis generated by the two interviews. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values were computed for the screening and the diagnostic sub-modules of the tool, compared to the clinical diagnoses. Kappa coefficients were computed to assess agreement between the diagnoses generated by the diagnostic sub-module and the clinical diagnoses.

Results: The screening sub-module had high sensitivity, high specificity and negative predictive values for all disorders. For the diagnostic sub-module, there was moderate (kappa-0.4-0.6) to substantial agreement (kappa > 0.6) for all the disorders, (except psychosis) and high sensitivity (barring a few disorders) and specificity for almost all the disorders. Positive predictive values were found to be acceptable to high for most disorders, with consistently high negative predictive values.

Conclusion: The new tool was found to be comprehensive, reasonably short and feasible. Results showed acceptable level of accuracy in diagnosis generated by the tool.

Keywords: Adolescent; child; diagnosis; psychiatric disorders; telepsychiatry.