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Wearable Technology in Clinical Practice for Depressive Disorder

New England Journal of Medicine Read the Article
ABSTRACT Joe, who has received a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, is meeting every 2 weeks with his psychiatrist, Sandy.

“How have you been feeling since we last met?” asks Sandy.

“Much better,” says Joe. “I’ve been much more active and social, and I’m sleeping great!”

“That’s wonderful,” says Sandy. “But…I think your wearable must be broken. The data from it looks very irregular for your sleep these past 2 weeks.”

“Oh,” says Joe, “it’s not broken. Actually, now that you mention it, my sleep has been really messed up. I slept well only yesterday.”

“Well,” asks Sandy, “should we talk more about how we can improve your sleep?”

This conversation is based on a real patient–therapist interaction. In this case, the data from wearable technology served as a prompt to obtain details of the patient’s life that might have otherwise been missed. Traditional clinical assessments depend on patient recall. Although such recall can include important factors that wearable technology (often termed “wearables”) do not detect, such as patients’ reports of distress, the assessments by wearables of longitudinal data from daily life may augment methods of monitoring and treating depression, providing objective complements to subjective information from patients.

Contributors: Szymon Fedor, Robert Lewis., Paola Pedrelli, David Mischoulon, Joshua Curtiss
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