Monday, October 29, 2012

What I Learned Part 4

This is a belated post about the AAPL conference, since yesterday was devoted to finding my way home around Sandy. It's rainy heavily here and the wind is starting to pick up a bit. Dinah's at home waiting for a tree to fall on her house but there's no word from Roy. I'm hoping all our readers are home safe and prepared.

The last day of the conference was worth waiting for. I regularly attend the presentations given by the Computers in Psychiatry committee, and this year was no exception. Two presenters had to leave early due to the storm, but the remaining members talked about how to do Google power searches (using conjunctive and disjunctive search terms and site-specific searches) and other non-Google search engines (there's something other than Bing?). There was also a presentation about a wide variety of health care related smart phone apps. As yet, the FDA does not regulate these as medical devices and there is no standard method for assessing accuracy, efficacy or reliability. For those docs "prescribing" or recommending apps, there was discussion about whether or not the use of apps is becoming a standard of care for medicine and at what point there may be liability for their use---not following up on an app "flag" for instance. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the first psychiatry apps mentioned was "What's My M3?", a project that Roy has been affiliated with. (Maybe Roy might want to right a post about the standard of care and liability issues I mentioned? I'm sure this has been discussed and I'm curious.)

The last session of the day was about assessment of stalkers. I learned that three-fourths of more than 400 Canadian politicians had experienced an overt threat. When assessing risk, the assessment considers both the stalker and the situation. The three main considerations are level of persistence, risk of injury to the target and the potential for recurrence if the stalking has stopped or interrupted. The most persistent stalkers are those with psychotic illnesses, specifically delusions. Grandiose or erotomanic stalkers are less likely to present a risk of danger since they are seeking intimate contact rather than violent contact. People with paranoid delusions who are also angry are more likely to present a risk of violence. There's a lot more to these assessments, but those were the highlights that I took away.

That was the last session of the conference. I confirmed my flight as I left the hotel, but by the time I got to the airport checkin desk it was cancelled. Such is the risk of the AAPL conference. Last year at this time in Boston we were facing an impending snowstorm.

If you're in need of more conference fixes, I'd recommend the Child Sexual Abuse Conference (hashtag #CSAC12 on Twitter) which is live-streaming some talks.