Remote Cognitive Assessment of Older Adults in Rural Areas by Telemedicine and Automatic Speech & Video Analysis

König, A., Linz, N., Zeghari, R., Guerchouche, R., Tran, M. D., Bremond, F., Langel, K., Ramakers, I., Lemoine, P., Bultingaire, V., & Robert, P. (2021). Remote Cognitive Assessment of Older Adults in Rural Areas by Telemedicine and Automatic Speech & Video Analysis.

Poster presented at AAIC21.

Background: Early detection of cognitive impairments is crucial for successful
implementation of preventive strategies. However, in rural isolated areas or so-called ‘medical
deserts’, access to diagnosis and care is very limited. With the current pandemic crisis, now
even more than ever, remote solutions such as telemedicine platforms represent great
potential and can help to overcome this barrier. Moreover, current advances made in voice
and image analysis can help overcoming the barrier of the physical distance by providing
additional information of a patients’ emotional and cognitive state. Therefore, the aim of this
study is to evaluate the feasibility and reliability of a videoconference system for remote
cognitive testing empowered by automatic speech and video analysis.

Method: 60 participants (aged 55 and older) with and without cognitive impairment are
recruited. A complete neuropsychological assessment including a short clinical interview are
administered in two conditions, once by telemedicine and once by face–to–face. The
administration procedure is randomized. Acceptability and user experience are assessed
among participants and clinicians in qualitative and quantitative manner. Speech and video
features will be extracted and analyzed to obtain additional information on mood and
engagement levels.

Result: Similar results were obtained on the several cognitive test measures when comparing
the remote to the face-to-face administration method. Word recall (r=0,928) and picture
naming task (r=0,939) showed the strongest correlation. Acceptability of the tool was relatively
high with preference even in the remote method for more convenience.

Conclusion: Results support the feasibility and reliability of remote cognitive testing through
administration via a telemedicine tool. These systems can be used for remote disease
monitoring, enabling patients to be assessed in their own homes and improve utilization of
expert assessors allowing them to conduct neurocognitive testing remotely.

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