Northwestern releases iPad app for clinicians to screen for dementia, Parkinson's

Clinicians at Chicago-based Northwestern Medicine are using an iPad app designed to detect neurological disorders such as dementia and Parkinson's disease.

The NIH Toolbox V3 app was developed at Northwestern and is available on the Apple App Store for clinicians to screen patients 3 to 85 years old for cognition, motor functions, senses (such as loss of hearing or smell) and emotion.

A group of screenings that used to take two to three hours can now be done in less than 30 minutes, the developers say.

"The problem in clinical care today is nobody has time for long tests for everything — we need very brief tests," said Richard Gershon, PhD, project leader and vice chair for medical social sciences research at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, in an April 25 news release.

Researchers are working on a version of the app that would allow patients to self-administer in the waiting room before their appointments, with results uploaded to their EHRs. The developers also plan to add a tool to measure cognitive functioning in children between 1 and 42 months old.

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