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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 53 (2011) 7, 419 - 424

Review article

Psychiatric diagnosis by telephone?

L. Hoek, J.E. Hovens

background The fact that more and more interviews are being conducted on the phone suggests that phone interviews are just as valid as face-to-face interviews.
aim To discuss the literature on the assessment of psychiatric patients with depressive disorder when there is no personal contact between psychiatrists and patient.
method We searched the literature using PubMed and the snowball method so that we could make comparisons between face-to-face interviews and phone interviews. We only consulted the literature that dealt with the diagnosis of depressive symptoms.
results Some advantages are to be gained from diagnosis by telephone, but in the case of psychiatric diagnoses there are considerable disadvantages. The absence of visual cues is a major impediment to accurate diagnosis.
conclusion Psychiatrists need to come face-to-face with their patients. The face-to-face interview is still ‘the gold standard’ for making diagnoses in psychiatry


keywords face-to-face interview, phone interview, psychiatric diagnosis