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Difficult access and low quality of health care are recognized as factors that may account for the excess deaths widely reported in patients with schizophrenia. As a matter of fact, psychiatrists not always possess adequate competences in the assessment of physical health, while non-psychiatric physicians receive little training in psychiatry and are not prepared to take care of subjects with severe mental illnesses.
We present a comprehensive and systematic algorithm for screening medical comorbidities, conceived to be easy to use for psychiatrists, after a brief training.
The study is aimed to implement an instrument for proper detection and management of physical illnesses in people with schizophrenia.
The screening protocol, developed by internal medicine specialists, was applied to 15 subjects in two independent assessments, one performed by trainees in psychiatry, after a brief training, and one carried out by one specialist and two trainees in internal medicine. The analysis of the inter-rater reliability was carried out by calculating the Cohen's kappa coefficient and the intraclass correlation coefficient as appropriate.
The agreement among raters resulted excellent for 61% of items, good for 17%, moderate for 18% and scarce for 4%. The few items showing scarce inter-rater reliability were excluded. The final algorithm is being tested for feasibility in psychiatric settings.
The proposed screening protocol resulted in a suitable tool, showing moderate to excellent inter-rater reliability, that can be used in clinical practice by psychiatrists after a brief training.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
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