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There is widespread agreement by health-care providers, medical associations, industry, and governments that automation using digital technology could improve the delivery and quality of care in psychiatry, and reduce costs. Many benefits from technology have already been realised, along with the identification of many challenges. In this Review, we discuss some of the challenges to developing effective automation for psychiatry to optimise physician treatment of individual patients. Using the perspective of automation experts in other industries, three examples of automation in the delivery of routine care are reviewed: (1) effects of electronic medical records on the patient interview; (2) effects of complex systems integration on e-prescribing; and (3) use of clinical decision support to assist with clinical decision making. An increased understanding of the experience of automation from other sectors might allow for more effective deployment of technology in psychiatry.

Original publication




Journal article


Lancet Psychiatry

Publication Date





338 - 349


Automation, Decision Support Systems, Clinical, Electronic Health Records, Electronic Prescribing, Humans, Interview, Psychological, Mental Disorders, Physicians, Psychiatry, Quality Improvement