Cognitive Testing Over the Phone

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

According to research scheduled for publication in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, administering standard cognitive tests over the phone yields comparable results to in-person administration.This finding could have many positive implications for research as well as for clinical care.

In the research field, recruiting subjects for a study could be completed more rapidly and at a lower cost if more of the enrollment criteria, such as cognitive status, could be ascertained over the phone. In addition, phone-based assessments could also aid in the challenge of maintaining subjects throughout the course of a study when many follow-up assessments are required. This inconvenience is one that causes some subjects to drop out of longitudinal studies.

In terms of dispensing clinical care, phone-based assessment will be useful for patients who have difficulty getting to a physician's office due to poor health or even due to the long distance many need to travel in rural areas.

Such an approach will never replace the central role of in-person assessments but might serve as an efficient complement to standard practice in many instances.

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