W47 – Moving Beyond Zoom: The New Frontier of Digital Psychiatry

W47 – Moving Beyond Zoom: The New Frontier of Digital Psychiatry

Saturday, Oct. 29
14:30 – 15:30 (1 hr)
Meeting Room: Willow (Mezzanine)
David Gratzer*, MD, FRCPC; Marlon Danilewitz, MD; Anees Bahji, MD; John Torous, MD

CanMEDS Roles:

  1. Medical Expert
  2. Collaborator
  3. Scholar

At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Better understand and appreciate the literature supporting digital mental health; 2) Better understand and appreciate the transformation over COVID in mental health delivery; and 3) Better understand and appreciate the challenges of virtual care.

One of the unintended consequences of COVID-19 has been the accelerated uptake of virtual care. Virtual care is a good fit for psychiatry because of our lack of reliance on physical exams and other in-person testing. Although technology has helped us address the accessibility issues made more problematic by the COVID-19 crisis, it has not come without challenges. Unlike in-person assessments, digital assessments may be challenged by audio and visual quality, tenuous rapport, and challenges around using traditional scales, among other factors that may impact the quality of the assessments. At the same time, recent advancements in artificial intelligence and digital medicine may be able to mitigate these concerns and even potentially optimize virtual care beyond face-to-face assessments. With an eye on care during the pandemic and beyond, this interactive workshop will explore the current landscape of virtual psychiatry in Canada and its current limitations. Presenters will include experts from the University of Calgary, the University of Toronto, and Harvard University. Throughout the workshop, we will also identify strategies to mitigate present deficits in virtual care delivery and describe tools to help clinicians use technology to achieve the current standard of psychiatric care. Our workshop will also focus on the emergence of new digital technologies facilitated by advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning that will help clinicians transcend the current standards of care. We will also consider the potential risks and ethical implications of increasing health care digitization.


  1. Shore JH, Schneck CD, Mishkind MC. Telepsychiatry and the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic–current and future outcomes of the rapid virtualization of psychiatric care. JAMA Psychiatry 2020;77:1211. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1643
  2. Gratzer D, Torous J, Lam RW, et al. Our digital moment: innovations and opportunities in digital mental health care. Can J Psychiatry 2021;66(1):5–8.