Precision psychiatry stands to benefit from the latest digital technologies for assessment and analyses to tailor treatment towards individuals. Insights into dynamic psychological processes as they unfold in humans' everyday life can critically add value in understanding symptomatology and environmental stressors to provide individualized treatment where and when needed. Towards this goal, ambulatory assessment encompasses methodological approaches to investigate behavioral, physiological, and biological processes in humans' everyday life. It combines repeated assessments of symptomatology over time, e.g., via Ecological Momentary Assessment (e.g., smartphone-diaries), with monitoring of physical behavior, environmental characteristics (such as geolocations, social interactions) and physiological function via sensors, e.g., mobile accelerometers, global-positioning-systems, and electrocardiography. In this review, we expand on promises of ambulatory assessment in the investigation of mental states (e.g., real-life, dynamical and contextual perspective), on chances for precision psychiatry such as the prediction of courses of psychiatric disorders, detection of tipping points and critical windows of relapse, and treatment effects as exemplified by ongoing projects, and on future avenues of how ambulatory interventions can benefit personalized care for psychiatric patients (e.g., through real-time feedback in everyday life). Ambulatory assessment is a key contributor to precision psychiatry, opening up promising avenues in research, diagnoses, prevention and treatment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Neuroscience