BACKGROUND: The fact that more and more interviews are being conducted on the phone suggests that phone interviews arejust as valid as face-to-face interviews. AIM: To discuss the literature on the assessment of psychiatric patients with depressive disorder when there is no personal contact between psychiatrists and patient. METHOD: We searched the literature using PubMed and the snowball method so that we could make comparisons between face-to-face interviews and phone interviews. We only consulted the literature that dealt with the diagnosis of depressive symptoms. RESULTS: Some advantages are to be gained from diagnosis by telephone, but in the case of psychiatric diagnoses there are considerable disadvantages. The absence of visual cues is a major impediment to accurate diagnosis. CONCLUSION: Psychiatrists need to come face-to-face with their patients. The face-to-face interview is still 'the gold standard' for making diagnoses in psychiatry.

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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie
Department of Psychology