THE PSYCHIATRIC evaluation has a long and honorable history. Started in its modern form by Meyer,1 the history and examination of a patient have become standard clinical procedure considered central to psychiatry. But, to quote Grinker, who speaks for many, as far as research is concerned the available records of these evaluations are "pathetically inadequate."2 Can anything be done about this? Specifically, can electronic information collecting and processing techniques make these data more useful for research?
Systematic psychiatric tools for studying patients in cross-section have been derived by many authors; Lorr has reviewed 28 of them.3 They range from the use of rating scales following a psychiatric interview (the inpatient Multidimensional Psychiatric Scale of Lorr et al; the Wittenborn Psychiatric Rating Scales; Hamilton's Depression Scale), to the use of Q-sort by the physician (Glueck) to self-administered tests like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality