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Brief bedside cognitive examinations such as the Mini-Mental State Examination are designed to detect delirium and dementia but not more subtle or delineated cognitive deficits. Formal neuropsychological evaluation provides greater sensitivity and detects a wider range of cognitive deficits but is too lengthy for efficient use at the bedside or in epidemiological studies. The authors developed the High Sensitivity Cognitive Screen (HSCS), a 20-minute interview-based test, to identify patients who show disorder on formal neuropsychological evaluation. An initial study demonstrated satisfactory test-retest and interrater reliability. The HSCS was then administered to 60 psychiatric and neurological patients with suspected cognitive deficits but without gross impairment, who also completed formal neuropsychological testing. Results of both tests were independently classified as either normal, borderline, or abnormal. The HSCS correctly classified 93% of patients across the normal abnormal dichotomy and showed promise for characterizing the extent and severity of cognitive dysfunction.