Telemedicine and the mini-mental state examination: assessment from a distance

Telemed J E Health. 2009 Jun;15(5):476-8. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2008.0144.


The objective of this study was to determine the reliability of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) administration via telehealth with a focus on the auditory and visual test components. Reliability was assessed through use of an in-person collaborator and by assessment of faxed test copies. The MMSE was administered via telehealth with the assistance of a face-to-face collaborator. Patient responses were recorded by both the remote and in-person nurse and compared item by item; total scores for each subject were also compared. Visual items were assessed through a blinded separate scoring of a faxed copy. Percent agreement per item and total score were calculated and correlations between scores were determined by Pearson correlation coefficients. Mean score differences and associated 95% confidence intervals were calculated. Eighty percent of individual items demonstrated remote to in-person agreement of >95% and all items were >85.5% in agreement. Pearson correlation coefficients demonstrated high correlations (>0.86) between 80% of the items examined. Mean differences in scored test items were not significantly different from zero. This study demonstrates the utility of using telehealth for cognitive assessment by MMSE. It supports the use of telehealth to improve healthcare access among patients for whom distance, cost, and mobility are potential barriers to attending face-to-face clinical visits. Continued validation and reliability testing is warranted to ensure that all healthcare provided via telehealth maintains an equal quality level to that of in-person care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Health
  • Telemedicine*