The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is to improve the routine clinic-based diagnosis and treatment of patients with cognitive impairment, including various types of dementia. Given the aging of U.S. populations, and the prevalence of dementia in elderly patients, patients with cognitive impairment will be an increasing management problem in healthcare systems. This project's information system will allow primary care providers to manage complex cognitively impaired cases without needing a referral to specialists, and without needing additional provider time with patients. Primary care providers generally manage simple cases of mild cognitive impairment, and refer more complex cases to neurologists, neuropsychologists, and geriatric specialists, which can cause economic and patient-care problems. Specialty care for cognitively impaired individuals can also be sparse outside of major metropolitan areas, which causes serious challenges to the equitable delivery of health care for rural and underserved communities. Primary care providers would potentially benefit with increased revenue and better care of the patients. Patients would potentially benefit from their care being managed by fewer physicians, and have more rapid access to diagnosis and treatment. Society will potentially benefit from lower population-health costs and improved healthcare outcomes.
This I-Corps project proposes to develop an information system to manage patients with cognitive impairment by providing primary care providers with an integrated set of evidence-based screening, diagnostic, treatment and monitoring modules. These modules will include a diagnostic test for cognitive impairment based upon computer-analyzed electroencephalography (EEG) data using a new technique based upon preliminary results. Because of its low cost, rapidity, and non-invasive nature, EEG has great promise as an office-based clinical test for brain diseases. However, to date, standard techniques of EEG analysis have not been accurate enough for routine clinical use. Similarly, currently, there are no tests that are FDA-approved for assessing cognitive impairments associated with brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. Another strong component of this envisioned information management system will be its recommendation of care plans personalized for each patient based on artificial intelligence-based models. In addition, the information management software will have the ability to connect the patient to other local services that are often needed by patients with dementia and other brain diseases.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.