Computer technology dominates our daily lives and has become an integral professional tool in medical practice and by extension, in psychiatry as well. The widespread use of internet technology has taken place with unprecedented speed in the history of human civilization, spreading in a few decades to all countries of the world, offering novel possibilities for transmitting information, and leading to the globalization of knowledge. However, the speed with which computer technology is becoming a part of our lives is accompanied by difficulties in integration. The continued evolution of applications often leads to the impression that to be modern and efficient we have to run continuously after developments, dedicating time and effort that we cannot often afford. At the same time, its widespread use alters the needs of our patients, and our efficiency is constantly judged in a globalized environment which, while offering new possibilities, also has new demands. The initial impression that computer technology is simply a tool that can facilitate the work of those who are willing and able to use it has been replaced by the perception that the practice of medicine, in both clinical and academic level, requires sufficient knowledge of modern technology and the development of relevant skills for ongoing training and following innovative applications. The result of this assumption is the introduction of technology courses in the curricula of medical schools in the country. This article offers a brief description of the uses of information technology in psychiatry. In particular, e-mail is one of the most popular Internet services and there is internationally an increasing pressure from the public to be able to contact their doctor by e-mail. Furthermore, almost all psychiatric journals now have a digital electronic edition, thus increasing the volume of articles published, the ease of accessing the required information, and ultimately the reduction of the time it takes a psychiatrist to come to possess a specialized field of knowledge. The Internet also enables psychiatrists, while being at their residence and from their offices and homes in remote areas of a country, or from developing countries to be able to take part relatively easily in continuing medical education programs that are under development in advanced educational centers, eliminating in this way the barrier of distance. Furthermore, telemedicine allows access in health-care to people living in geographically isolated areas with poor medical facilities. The electronic filing systems on the other hand, are also expected in the near future to provide the essential foundation of sharing and managing information material in health care. Apart from the uses of technology in the practice of psychiatry, technology has many uses in Psychiatric Education, providing valuable assistance to both trainees and trainers. Today the educational community has at its disposal a range of devices, operating systems, and web applications useful in medical education. For example, we can mention the existence of technological tools for educational administration and management, evaluation of educational work, tools for creating educational content, and learning outside the confines of the classroom. Developments arising from the use of technology are rapid, and its use brings new applications that have the potential to alter the framework of practicing medicine. However, in many cases, these applications do not go along with the guidelines and principles available to doctors in order to practice their profession in a manner not inconsistent with moral imperatives. The challenge of this new environment is to establish guidelines consistent with the principles of medical ethics.
Key words: Technology, psychiatry, information technology, internet.
M. Margariti, G.N. Papadimitriou (page 322) - Full article (Greek)