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New app for dementia assessment

A team of clinicians from Sydney, Australia and Plymouth, UK, have taken the paper-based Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination (ACE-III), one of the most popular and commonly-used screening tools for dementia and translated it into app form for more accurate assessment and wider use within the clinical team.

ACEmobile is the name of the app and it uses the latest version of ACE (ACE-III). It will be launched at the Healthcare Innovation Expo 2013 in London on 13thMarch and will be available a few months later. The developers intend ACEmobile to be made available free of charge to dementia clinicians around the world via iTunes and Google Play.

The development of ACEmobile has been a collaboration between Professor John Hodges (Neuroscience Research Australia), Dr Rupert Noad (Derriford Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust) and Dr Craig Newman (Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry) . It has been supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care in the South West Peninsula (PenCLAHRC).

ACEmobile has been developed by clinicians for clinicians. It provides a sensitive, reliable, secure and easy-to-administer dementia assessment tool that can be used by a wide range of medical and other healthcare staff.

The ACEmobile has been designed to ensure that the assessment is effortless to administer. The administration instructions are embedded within the app, which means that the clinical team no longer need to refer to a manual. This means it is much easier to accurately and reliably deliver the assessment with patients.

With one tap of a button the ACEmobile automatically scores and produces automated reports, making it easy for clinicians to obtain the information they need. It will also support the routine collection of data, which will be valuable for individual clinical teams to be able to audit their own dementia assessment practice. The ACEmobile team hope that with a high level of accuracy, convenience and automation, assessments in dementia clinics will be easily carried out by all members of the team.

The ACEmobile team have the aspiration that the app will also be a valuable tool for research, resulting in the development of better normative data for different patient populations and ACE-III individual sub-test norms.

Dr. Rupert Noad, commented: "ACE-III is a great assessment tool, but as with many such tools which are paper-based, it has been open to human error and miscalculation. By producing the ACEmobile app we have reduced the risk of such error and miscalculation and created a tool which can be used by the wider dementia care team. Dementia is applying increasing pressure on health care services around the world and is set to continue to do so by creating a reliable, accurate and easy to use application of ACE-III, and making it free of charge, we hope that the future of the ACEmobile project can play a role in earlier and more accurate diagnoses."

He added: "Early diagnosis is important because it allows us, along with the patient and those close to them, to prepare a plan of care which can mean greater independence and which can introduce therapies and strategies that may slow down the development of the disease."

Prof John Hodges, Professor of Cognitive Neurology at Neuroscience Research Australia and University of New South Wales, commented "I'm delighted by this development. The Plymouth team have done a great job producing such an attractive and user-friendly app which I'm sure will find wide usage. The increase in accuracy of administration and scoring is very welcome. My guiding philosophy has been to produce tests that improve diagnosis, and can aid in monitoring progression, but are freely available which is particularly important in parts of the world where resources are limited".


Contact: Andrew Gould
University of Plymouth

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