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Review Article

The Clinical Process in Psychiatry: A Clinimetric Approach

Giovanni A. Fava, MD; Chiara Rafanelli, MD, PhD; and Elena Tomba, PhD

Published: August 9, 2011

Article Abstract

Objective: The aim of this review was to examine the clinical process in psychiatry, with special reference to clinimetrics, a domain concerned with the measurement of clinical phenomena that do not find room in customary taxonomy.

Data Sources: A MEDLINE search from inception to August 2010 was performed for English-language articles using the keywords clinical judgment, clinimetric, staging, comorbidity, sequential treatment, and subclinical symptoms in relation to psychiatric illness. It was supplemented by a manual search of the literature.

Study Selection: Choice of assessment strategies was based on their established or potential incremental increase in clinical information compared to use of diagnostic criteria.

Data Extraction: Contributions were evaluated according to the principles of clinimetrics.

Results: Several innovative assessment strategies were identified: the use of diagnostic transfer stations with repeated assessments instead of diagnostic endpoints, subtyping versus integration of different diagnostic categories, staging methods, and broadening of clinical information through macroanalysis and microanalysis. The most representative examples were selected.

Conclusions: Current assessment strategies in psychiatric research do not reflect the sophisticated thinking that underlies clinical decisions in practice. The clinimetric perspective provides an intellectual home for the reproduction and standardization of these clinical intuitions.

J Clin Psychiatry, 2012; 73(2): 177-184

© Physicians Postgraduate Press’ ‹

Volume: 72

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