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Special Articles   |    
The Internet and the future of psychiatry
Am J Psychiatry 1996;153:861-869.
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The Internet is a rapidly growing communications resource that is beginning to have an impact on medicine, and it is anticipated that the Internet will soon have a major effect on psychiatry. It is essential for psychiatrists to have a conceptual framework for understanding the many aspects of the Internet. METHOD: Using a four- layer model, the authors describe the components of the Internet and how these work together to establish communication. They discuss some of the practical implications of the model, potential future applications of the Internet, and some of the challenges its use will create. RESULTS: In the Internet model described, the bottom three layers involve hardware and modes of information transmission; the fourth layer is human interaction. The Internet has great potential in psychiatric education, clinical care, research, and administration, but major adjustments in individual and organizational expectations and responses will be needed. These changes relate to the speed, dispersion, volume, privacy, and permanence of communication. CONCLUSIONS: The growth of the Internet and related information technologies is inevitable and has diverse technical and social implications. As psychiatrists, we must remain effective communicators of information and adjust to a changing world with new roles and skills that will permit us to best serve our professional mission.

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