Comparing face-to-face and videoconference completion of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) in community-based survivors of stroke

J Telemed Telecare. 2019 Dec 9;1357633X19890788. doi: 10.1177/1357633X19890788. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Videoconferencing may help address barriers associated with poor access to post-stroke cognitive screening. However, the equivalence of videoconference and face-to-face administrations of appropriate cognitive screening tools needs to be established. We compared face-to-face and videoconference administrations of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) in community-based survivors of stroke. We also evaluated whether participant characteristics (e.g. age) influenced equivalence.

Methods: We used a randomised crossover design (two-week interval). Participants were recruited through community advertising and use of a stroke-specific database. Both sessions were conducted by the same researcher in the same location. Videoconference sessions were conducted using Zoom. A repeated-measures t-test, intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), Bland-Altman plot and multivariate regression modelling were used to establish equivalence.

Results: Forty-eight participants (26 men, Mage = 64.6 years, standard deviation (SD) = 10.1; Mtime since stroke = 5.2 years, SD = 4.0) completed the MoCA face-to-face and via videoconference on average 15.8 (SD = 9.7) days apart. Participants did not perform systematically better in a particular condition, and no participant variable predicted difference in MoCA performance. However, the ICC was low (0.615), and the Bland-Altman plot indicated wide limits of agreement, indicating variability between sessions.

Discussion: Our findings provide preliminary evidence to support the use of videoconference to administer the MoCA following stroke. However, further research into the test-retest reliability of scores derived from the MoCA is needed in this population. Administering the MoCA via videoconference holds potential to ensure that all stroke survivors undergo cognitive screening, in line with recommended clinical practice.

Keywords: MoCA; Montreal Cognitive Assessment; stroke, neurology, screening, rehabilitation; telehealth; videoconference.