Forensic Competency Assessment with Digital Technologies

  • David D. LuxtonEmail author
  • Frances J. Lexcen
  • Katharine A. McIntyre
Psychiatry in the Digital Age (J Shore, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Psychiatry in the Digital Age


Purpose of the Review

We review the application of videoconferencing (VC) to pretrial forensic assessments of competence to stand trial (CST). We summarize the benefits, legal considerations, and reliability of VC evaluations. Based on our experience with VC in forensic settings, we provide illustrations of challenges and recommendations regarding this capability to meet increasing demands for services.

Recent Findings

CST evaluations are the most frequent type of forensic mental health assessment within the American legal system. VC can be a reliable method for conducting interviews with most defendants, including those with psychotic symptoms. Videoconferencing can improve the overall efficiency of evaluations while also improving the safety of the professionals involved with the competency evaluation.


VC provides an opportunity to meet the increasing demand for evaluations and improve their efficiency. Forensic clinicians should become familiar with the uses of VC in delivering services so that VC is implemented ethically and effectively.


Videoconferencing Forensic evaluation Competency Assessment 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David D. Luxton
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Frances J. Lexcen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Katharine A. McIntyre
    • 1
  1. 1.Office of Forensic Mental Health ServicesWashington State Department of Social and Health ServicesOlympiaUSA
  2. 2.Child Study and Treatment CenterWashington State Department of Social and Health ServicesLakewoodUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Washington School of MedicineSeattleUSA

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