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Title: Improving the primary care consultation for diabetes and depression through digital medical interview assistant systems : narrative review
Authors: Jimenez, Geronimo
Tyagi, Shilpa
Osman, Tarig
Spinazze, Pier
van der Kleij, Rianne
Chavannes, Niels H.
Car, Josip
Keywords: Science::Medicine
Issue Date: 2020
Source: Jimenez, G., Tyagi, S., Osman, T., Spinazze, P., van der Kleij, R., Chavannes, N. H., & Car, J. (2020). Improving the Primary Care Consultation for Diabetes and Depression Through Digital Medical Interview Assistant Systems: Narrative Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(8), e18109-. doi:10.2196/18109
Journal: Journal of medical Internet research
Abstract: Background: Digital medical interview assistant (DMIA) systems, also known as computer-assisted history taking (CAHT) systems, have the potential to improve the quality of care and the medical consultation by exploring more patient-related aspects without time constraints and, therefore, acquiring more and better-quality information prior to the face-to-face consultation. The consultation in primary care is the broadest in terms of the amount of topics to be covered and, at the same time, the shortest in terms of time spent with the patient. Objective: Our aim is to explore how DMIA systems may be used specifically in the context of primary care, to improve the consultations for diabetes and depression, as exemplars of chronic conditions. Methods: A narrative review was conducted focusing on (1) the characteristics of the primary care consultation in general, and for diabetes and depression specifically, and (2) the impact of DMIA and CAHT systems on the medical consultation. Through thematic analysis, we identified the characteristics of the primary care consultation that a DMIA system would be able to improve. Based on the identified primary care consultation tasks and the potential benefits of DMIA systems, we developed a sample questionnaire for diabetes and depression to illustrate how such a system may work. Results: A DMIA system, prior to the first consultation, could aid in the essential primary care tasks of case finding and screening, diagnosing, and, if needed, timely referral to specialists or urgent care. Similarly, for follow-up consultations, this system could aid with the control and monitoring of these conditions, help check for additional health issues, and update the primary care provider about visits to other providers or further testing. Successfully implementing a DMIA system for these tasks would improve the quality of the data obtained, which means earlier diagnosis and treatment. Such a system would improve the use of face-to-face consultation time, thereby streamlining the interaction and allowing the focus to be the patient's needs, which ultimately would lead to better health outcomes and patient satisfaction. However, for such a system to be successfully incorporated, there are important considerations to be taken into account, such as the language to be used and the challenges for implementing eHealth innovations in primary care and health care in general. Conclusions: Given the benefits explored here, we foresee that DMIA systems could have an important impact in the primary care consultation for diabetes and depression and, potentially, for other chronic conditions. Earlier case finding and a more accurate diagnosis, due to more and better-quality data, paired with improved monitoring of disease progress should improve the quality of care and keep the management of chronic conditions at the primary care level. A somewhat simple, easily scalable technology could go a long way to improve the health of the millions of people affected with chronic conditions, especially if working in conjunction with already-established health technologies such as electronic medical records and clinical decision support systems.
ISSN: 1438-8871
DOI: 10.2196/18109
Rights: © Geronimo Jimenez, Shilpa Tyagi, Tarig Osman, Pier Spinazze, Rianne van der Kleij, Niels H Chavannes, Josip Car. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (, 28.08.2020. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:LKCMedicine Journal Articles

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