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Cantab Mobile presented at KSS AHSN expo and awards

Posted on 16 January 2015 in Healthcare

Cambridge Cognition was delighted to join our collaborative partners at the Kent Surrey and Sussex region’s first ever Expo and Awards. It was a superb event with over 300 delegates from academia, science and industry NHS professionals practicing in the region. The opportunity to spread innovation and best practice, hear about new research initiatives and view the latest technologies was embraced by all attendees.

The day’s programme included various collaborative seminars, one of which was a focus on dementia, facilitated by Dr Kate Jeffries; Old Age Psychiatrist (Surrey and Borders Partnership Trust). This was supported by Lea Marais, R & D Manager at Ixico, Laura Bottomley, Research Fellow in Dementia Studies, and Helen McBryer, Dementia Nurse / Study Co-ordinator here at Cambridge Cognition. This gave us a platform to introduce our case study demonstrating innovation and technology in dementia diagnosis and care.

Dr Jeffries set the scene with some background information and detail about the challenges facing dementia care; with less than 50% of the UK’s estimated 850,000 patients with dementia having received a diagnosis, there is an urgent need to establish cost-effective and efficient diagnostic pathways to ensure patients (and carers) receive the support they need as soon as they can. 

It was acknowledged that technology has a key role to play and during the course of the seminar we introduced the pilot study, supported by the Technology Strategy Board, currently underway in East Sussex. The collaborative partners involved in this study presented the initiative and the associated pathway that includes advanced computerized cognitive testing and MRI analysis in a primary care setting. There was considerable interest as the day had brought together professionals who were keen to identify how collaborating with the NHS, industry and academia, and improving the uptake of innovations can enhance patient care.

The Brain Health Centre project was well received by those attending the seminar and led to some interesting discussions amongst the group who were from memory assessment services, professionals working with dementia initiatives, dementia friendly organisations and academics, and improvement partnerships, to name but a few. The comments ranged from exploring experiences of dementia diagnosis and the time taken to reach this point, the implications for the individual and their families, and the greater economic burden. There was considerable focus on the quality of diagnosis and some audience members shared case studies of patients receiving inaccurate diagnoses, which linked in well with one of the core objectives of the pilot study.

With Dr Jeffries highlighting the magnitude of patients likely to be diagnosed with dementia in the region alone over the next year, there was considerable discussion about how to improve the route to accurate diagnosis. The pilot received significant interest due to the nature of the study taking part in the primary care setting with the widespread benefits this has for patients, carers and social care. It was widely agreed that implementing diagnostic pathways in the community setting (rather than seeing patients present to hospital at crisis point) is something to strive towards and enhanced the theme of the day, bringing together colleagues, innovation and technology to achieve quality patient care. 

During both seminars we had the opportunity to share our vision and introduce the concept of sophisticated cognitive testing as part of the dementia challenge and it was encouraging to hear that Cantab Mobile is being successfully integrated into Memory Services in Kent and Surrey from a member of the service in the seminar group. There were colleagues from dementia programmes further afield, with encouraging comments from the Isle of Wight who are also engaging with technology for early diagnosis in the form of Cantab Mobile.

The wider focus for the study drew many positive comments from GPs who commented that they could see a similar pathway being beneficial across the NHS, with lots of ideas for using the tests to take the burden of time away from GPs, to an Occupational Therapist; who noted that with her extensive work in the community Cantab Mobile would be a useful tool for Occupational Therapists when they come across patients with suspected dementia so that interventions could be planned to keep them at home and supported successfully for longer. It was exciting to hear a broad spectrum of professionals discussing how the model of the pilot study could work elsewhere and benefit patient outcomes.

We are pleased to have been asked to come back next year to share the progress of the community pilot, and we look forward to more interactive comments and thoughts from our colleagues working in the NHS, industry, education and local government.

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