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More Research Needed on Virtual Assessment of Cognitive Function

Evidence lacking for accuracy of virtual cognitive assessments for diagnosing dementia, mild cognitive impairment in older adults

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WEDNESDAY, May 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Three studies comparing videoconference with in-person cognitive assessments demonstrate good reliability and accuracy of virtual cognitive assessments in diagnosing dementia, according to a review published online May 5 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Jennifer A. Watt, M.D. Ph.D., from University of Toronto, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to compare the diagnostic accuracy of virtual and in-person cognitive assessments and tests for diagnosing dementia or mild cognitive impairment.

The researchers found that virtual cognitive assessments could diagnose dementia with good reliability compared with in-person cognitive assessments (two studies). There was 100 percent sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing dementia with videoconference-based cognitive assessments versus in-person cognitive assessments (one study). The most common condition affecting assessment was sensory impairment.

"Although three studies comparing videoconference to in-person cognitive assessments demonstrated good reliability and accuracy of virtual cognitive assessments in diagnosing dementia, we did not identify any studies comparing the accuracy of telephone to in-person cognitive assessments -- this represents a critical knowledge gap," the authors write.

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