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February 2017

The Future of the DSM: Implementing a Continuous Improvement Model

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Clinical Phenomenology, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Richmond
  • 4Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
  • 5Section on Bipolar Spectrum Disorders, Emotion, and Development Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(2):115-116. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.3004

One principle guiding the creation of the DSM-5 was that “the DSM will continue to exist as a living, evolving document that can be updated and reinterpreted.”1 Following the publication of DSM-5 in 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) began to design an empirically driven continuous improvement model, in which changes are made on an ongoing basis rather than at set intervals. This Viewpoint presents the rationale for this approach and the mechanism being developed to implement it.