Assessing Cognitive Function in Older Adults Using a Videoconference Approach.

Journal Title: 
Publication Date: 
Aug 12, 2016

BACKGROUND: The use of communication technologies is an emerging trend in healthcare and research. Despite efficient, reliable and accurate neuropsychological batteries to evaluate cognitive performance in-person, more diverse and less expensive and time consuming solutions are needed. Here we conducted a pilot study to determine the applicability of a videoconference (VC, Skype®) approach to assess cognitive function in older adults, using The Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status-Modified - Portuguese version (TICSM-PT).

METHODS: After inclusion and exclusion criteria, 69 individuals (mean age=74.90±9.46years), selected from registries of local health centers and assisted-living facilities, were assessed on cognitive performance using videoconference, telephone and in-person approaches.

FINDINGS: The videoconference administration method yielded comparable results to the traditional application. Correlation analyses showed high associations between the testing modalities: TICSM-PT VC and TICSM-PT telephone (r=0.885), TICSM-PT VC and MMSE face-to-face (r=0.801). Using the previously validated threshold for cognitive impairment on the TICSM-PT telephone, TICSM-PT VC administration presented a sensitivity of 87.8% and a specificity of 84.6%.

INTERPRETATION: Findings indicate for the range of settings where videoconference approaches can be used, and for their applicability and acceptability, providing an alternative to current cognitive assessment methods. Continued validation studies and adaptation of neuropsychological instruments is warranted.