How AI, Digital Screening Tools Can Help Flag Early Cognitive Decline (Health IT Analytics):
Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other dementias remains at the forefront of efforts to minimize the impact of these neurodegenerative diseases. But challenges such as increased life expectancy and the risks of aging, along with complexities in diagnosis and treatment resulting from mixed brain pathologies, make early detection difficult … A new pilot program at Indiana University School of Medicine and Indiana University Health, in collaboration with the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative (DAC), seeks to tackle these issues using digital screening tools.
… The test itself, the Linus Health Core Cognitive Evaluation, is comprised of a lifestyle-based questionnaire and a digital cognitive assessment, which asks patients to remember three unrelated words, complete the clock drawing test, and repeat the three words. The tool then uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect subtle signs of cognitive impairment and generates a score.
“[Using that score,] they get a stoplight that’s green, yellow, or red. And the doctor can take a quick look at it and decide, ‘what do I do with this?’” Brosch (Note: Dr. Jared Brosch, neurologist at IU Health) stated. “‘This person’s a green; they’re good to go. I’ll talk to them about their lifestyle,’ or ‘It’s yellow; maybe I should refer them to someone to do a little bit of a deeper dive to figure out if there really is an issue here,’ or if it’s red, ‘Maybe I should refer them directly to one of our experts for additional testing, diagnosis, and treatment.’”
He explained that the digital tool helps analyze more nuances that may correlate to cognitive decline that the traditional pen and paper approach can’t show, such as how long it took the patient to draw the clock, the shape of their drawn clock compared to a circle, how well their numbers were placed, and what do their hands looked like while completing the test…
“There’s barriers around billing codes and things that should be really easy to fix, but they’re not,” Ferrell (Note: Phyllis Ferrell, director of the DAC Healthcare System Preparedness initiative) explained. “[These issues are] about how these tests get reimbursed and how to make sure that we don’t spend more of a doctor’s time than we need to make sure that these screenings get done.”
The pilot project at IU is helping to generate data that can be presented to the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to help develop actionable solutions.
News in Context:
- Learn more about the DAC Healthcare System Preparedness initiative
- Altoida raises further $14 million to “democratize digital cognitive assessment at scale” via augmented reality (AR) and AI
- Geisinger and Eisai to test real-world validity of AI-powered Passive Digital Marker (PDM) in detecting early cognitive impairment and dementia