Cognitive dysfunction in the elderly population, ranging from simple forgetfulness to a diagnosis of Alzheimer?s disease, can impact one?s quality of life and ability to function in daily activities. It is crucial that decline be detected as early as possible in order to evaluate whether the cause is treatable, and to employ appropriate treatment, if applicable. The majority of older patients rely on their primary care physician for the bulk of their healthcare needs, but there is a lack of sensitive tools available to the physician, and there is a lack of physician?s time to use the tools that are available, leading to a failure to provide therapeutic intervention at the earliest stages of loss to potentially slow the progression of disease. There is a clear need for an easy-to-use and brief assessment tool designed to target early cognitive decline, and a need to introduce the tool to providers who most frequently care for the elderly population: Primary Care Physicians (PCPs). Psychology Software Tools, Inc. (PST) has developed such a tool, the Computer Assessment of Memory and Cognitive Impairment (CAMCI), a computerized screening tool for the detection of early signs of cognitive decline, which has been shown to be more effective in the identification of patients with subtle cognitive loss than the tool most frequently used within the PCP office (i.e., MMSE). With PST?s considerable experience in computerized testing and working with older populations, and in accordance with PST?s company mission to advance the fields of research and assessment, CAMCI would provide an option for PCPs and clinicians to provide therapeutic intervention prior to a diagnosis of dementia. Recent additions to CPT codes permit insurance reimbursement for neuropsychological testing by a computer, including time for the physician's or clinical psychologist's interpretation and reporting. The introduction of this new revenue stream for PCPs and clinicians, coupled with the characteristics of being brief and self-administered make CAMCI an attractive option for improving early intervention, providing an intelligent business solution for healthcare professionals, and a useful and effective tool that allows physicians to better evaluate and serve their patients.
The specific aims i ncluded in the current project are focused on activities required to successfully move CAMCI to commercialization by extending support for late stage research and product development, including regulatory strategy and intellectual property development, data collection to replicate key studies, product extension through increasing minority representation, and development of a measure of meaningful change. The ultimate goal is to streamline the commercialization of CAMCI, and to provide a useful and effective tool in the detection of cognitive dysfunction to physicians, the providers of the majority of healthcare to the elderly population, to improve efficiency and effectiveness of clinical practice.

Public Health Relevance

Cognitive impairment is a significant health problem in the United States, resulting in costs over $100 billion a year. We will provide an efficient, effective, and financially intelligent solution to Primary Care Physician?s to identify cognitive impairment in the earliest stages, delay progression through appropriate treatment, and to afford patients the opportunity to make future plans at a time when symptoms are mild and patients are able to make informed decisions concerning financial and life activities. This has the potential to delay devastating effects of cognitive impairment, and to lessen the financial burden on the health care system in the United States.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Bhattacharyya, Partha
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Psychology Software Tools, Inc.
United States
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