Computerized Cognitive Testing in Primary Care: A Qualitative Study

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Computerized cognitive assessment tools may facilitate early identification of dementia in the primary care setting. We investigated primary care physicians’ (PCPs’) views on advantages and disadvantages of computerized testing based on their experience with the Computer Assessment of Mild Cognitive Impairment (CAMCI). Over a 2-month period, 259 patients, 65 years and older, from the family practice of 13 PCPs completed the CAMCI. Twelve PCPs participated in an individual interview. Generally, PCPs felt that the relationship between them and their patients helped facilitate cognitive testing; however, they thought available paper tests were time consuming and not sufficiently informative. Despite concerns regarding elderly patients’ computer literacy, PCPs noticed high completion rates and that their patients had generally positive experiences completing the CAMCI. PCPs appreciated the time-saving advantage of the CAMCI and the immediately generated report, but thought the report should be shortened to 1 page and that PCPs should receive training in its interpretation. Our results suggest that computerized cognitive tools such as the CAMCI can address PCPs’ concerns with cognitive testing in their offices. Recommendations to improve the practicality of computerized testing in primary care were suggested.

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