Quest Diagnostics has developed a digitized version of the Memory Orientation Assessment Test, called MOST, to assess patients with cognitive dysfunction, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

The product is CogniSense, which integrates assessment results into a patient’s electronic health record, where disease progression can be tracked over time, says Edward Ginns, MD, a practicing neurologist and medical director of neurology at Quest.

The initial target audience is primary care providers, because they are most likely to intervene early in the course of a disease, when early intervention has a better likelihood of achieving a better outcome.

The MOST test uses memory recall techniques, information comprehension tests and tablet-based clock drawings to assess memory, orientation, sequential memory and time. Sequential memory is the ability of a patient to remember a series of shapes, numbers, letters, objects or other items presented visually, and to remember the sequence of the items as they are viewed.

Clock drawings are a way to begin assessment of cognitive ability, Ginns explains. A patient is given an iPad and asked to draw a circle and add in clock numbers in the right places, pick a time such as 4:25, then draw where the long and short hands should be.

It’s important to note, he adds, that CogniSense itself is not a diagnostic tool, but is a quick and easy tool to use and gives additional information along with other tests that will be conducted to assess cognitive function.

However, having an EHR storing cognitive data from CogniSense that can be tracked over time “really differentiates from paper processes and can accelerate early intervention,” according to Ginns. “This is a true functional evaluation of the patient’s status.”

CogniSense runs on an iPad, and cognition scores can be stored in Quest Diagnostics’ Care 360 electronic health record, its lab-ordering platform that enables integration to about 600 other EHRs. It is available at the iTunes store by searching for “CogniSense.” A free Quest Care360 account can be created here.

Quest now is collaborating with the University of California at San Francisco Memory and Aging Center to develop evidence-based standards for screening, diagnosis and monitoring of patients with dementia. The vendor hopes CogniSense will draw interest in clinical trials.

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