König, A., Zeghari, R., Guerchouche, R., Bremond, F., Bultingaire, V., Robert, P., & Linz, N. (2021). Remote cognitive assessment of older adults in rural areas by telemedicine and automatic speech and video analysis. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 17(S8).
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.
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.
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.
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.