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Cognivue - Ear to Brain Connection - December 2020

A Closer Look at Cognivue Thrive, A New Option for Cognitive Screening in Audiology

Heather Harris

April 7, 2021
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An interview with Heather Harris, Senior Medical Science Liaison within Cognivue's Medical Affairs Team.

 

AudiologyOnline: For those that are not familiar, what is Cognivue™ Thrive®?

Heather Harris: Cognivue Thrive is a fully computerized cognitive assessment tool that is self-administered by the patient in 5-10 minutes. Based on FDA-cleared technology with roots in NIH research, Cognivue Thrive assesses 3 cognitive domains and 2 speed performance parameters using the science of adaptive psychophysics. In other words, as the patient performs the assigned tasks, the technology adapts to their performance, scaling test difficulty up or down as appropriate. Results are available immediately and are reported in a user-friendly manner to facilitate effective patient-clinician communication.

AudiologyOnline: How does Cognivue address the variability and bias that is often associated with typical cognitive screening tools?

Heather Harris: To address variability, Cognivue’s physical design protects from distractions and light interference and provides the same testing environment between all testing sites. As a computerized assessment, issues such as subjectivity or inexperience of the administrator are off the table, as are the patient’s physical limitations, such as hearing impairment, which may affect performance on items requiring auditory stimuli. Looking more specifically at bias, research has demonstrated that other cognitive screeners may contain demographic bias and do not always appropriately scale for an individual’s education level.1

AudiologyOnline: Can you tell us about some of the research that supports Cognivue’s performance, particularly versus traditional screening methods?

Heather Harris: Initially, our FDA clearance required us to establish equivalency to the Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination, also known as SLUMS, as published in the World Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences and Neurosurgery.2,3 However, we understand that the MoCA assessment is much more prevalent in clinical and research applications, particularly in audiology, and a more direct comparison would be beneficial when evaluating the various screening options. The good news is that we’ve recently concluded a head-to-head comparison versus MoCA that is quite favorable for Cognivue, and should provide reassurance to those looking for this type of 1:1 verification. We hope to have this data published in the very near future, so stay tuned.

Additionally, we are collaborating with pharmaceutical and medical device industries as well as nationally recognized professional institutions, organizations, and advocates on joint clinical research opportunities. These types of partnerships will enable us to generate additional clinical data that further supports the use of Cognivue as a reliable and sensitive alternative to traditional cognitive screening methods.

AudiologyOnline: What makes Cognivue Thrive uniquely appropriate for use in audiology settings?

Heather Harris: While the value of cognitive screening is well-accepted within the audiology community, clinicians are often stymied by the lack of guidance around the practical implementation and varying approaches to more comprehensive patient assessment practices that include cognitive assessment.  In fact, survey data tells us that only a small number of audiologists outside of an academic/research practice are actually utilizing cognitive screening. For those not screening, most cite either a lack of time or lack of familiarity with the available paper-and-pencil screening tools as the primary reason.  As a patient-administered, computerized screening tool, Cognivue alleviates both of these pain points, while also reducing the subjectivity, variability, and bias that have been linked to other methods. Following the Cognivue assessment, results are available immediately in a user-friendly format.  When used in context with other evaluation measures, Cognivue results allow the clinician to help patients better understand what’s happening along with the ear to brain pathway.

AudiologyOnline: What support mechanisms are in place for audiologists new to Cognivue?

Heather Harris: We are in constant communication with our audiology partners and we understand that implementing new tools into the clinical model requires careful consideration and planning. In addition to the online courses available through Audiology Online, we offer all new Cognivue subscribers 60 minutes of live peer consultation to share best practices and pearls of wisdom from audiology colleagues who have been through the implementation process. Additionally, we have a number of new resources available, including short video vignettes, to support patient counseling, report interpretation, patient care planning, medical referrals, etc.  Over the past year, we have learned that the most successful Cognivue users are those who embrace cognitive screening as part of an evolution in audiological care that includes a more holistic, patient-centered approach. We want to support our customers on this journey and are always open to new ideas about how to strengthen that partnership.

AudiologyOnline: What’s next for Cognivue? 

Heather Harris: As mentioned, we have several exciting partnerships that should result in some interesting performance data over the coming months, and we are working on software enhancements to improve the user experience for the audiology patient. Further, we continue to work closely with our customers to support education and advocacy within the audiology community.  Our ears and minds are open to learning how Cognivue works within the clinical practice, and how our cognitive screening solution can better serve the needs of clinicians and patients looking to better understand ear-to-brain health.

For more information on Cognivue Thrive, please visit the Audiology Online Partner Page.

References

Ranson, J.M. et.al. (2019) Predictors of dementia misclassification when using brief cognitive assessments. Neurol Clin Pract. 9(2), 109–117.

Cahn-Hidalgo, D., Estes, P.W., Benabou, R. (2020) Validity, reliability, and psychometric properties of a computerized, cognitive assessment test (Cognivue®). World J Psychiatr. 10(1), 1–11.

Bomprezzi, R. et al. (2020) Cognitive Impairment in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis as Assessed by Objective Computerized Testing. Neurol Sci Neurosurg. Volume 2(1), 1–6.

 

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heather harris

Heather Harris

Senior Medical Science Liaison

Heather Harris is the Senior Medical Science Liaison within Cognivue’s Medical Affairs team. Prior to joining Cognivue, she was with Merck for over 15 years, most recently as an Associate Director of Scientific and Medical Engagement/ Medical Affairs, specializing in Public Health and Implementation Science. Also during her tenure with Merck, Heather worked as one of twenty-five National Health Sciences Liaisons for Merck Vaccines, with a focus on adult infectious diseases. Heather has a passion for improving the quality of life for patients, so it only seems natural for her to leverage expertise in public health and innovation to implement a new standard of care related to cognitive function.