Validity of teleneuropsychology for older adults in response to COVID-19: A systematic and critical review

Clin Neuropsychol. Oct-Nov 2020;34(7-8):1411-1452. doi: 10.1080/13854046.2020.1769192. Epub 2020 Jun 10.


Objective: Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the field of neuropsychology must rapidly evolve to incorporate assessments delivered via telehealth, or teleneuropsychology (TNP). Given the increasing demand to deliver services electronically due to public health concerns, it is important to review available TNP validity studies. This systematic review builds upon the work of Brearly and colleagues' (2017) meta-analysis and provides an updated review of the literature, with special emphasis on test-level validity data.Method: Using similar methodology as Brearly and colleagues (2017) three internet databases (PubMed, EBSCOhost, PsycINFO) were searched for relevant articles published since 2016. Studies with older adults (aged 65+) who underwent face-to-face and TNP assessments in a counterbalanced cross-over design were included. After review, 10 articles were retained. Combined with nine articles from Brearly's analysis, a total of 19 studies were included in the systematic review.Results: Retained studies included samples from 5 different countries, various ethnic/cultural backgrounds, and diverse diagnostic populations. Test-level analysis suggests there are cognitive screeners (MMSE, MoCA), language tests (BNT, Letter Fluency), attention/working memory tasks (Digit Span Total), and memory tests (HVLT-R) with strong support for TNP validity. Other measures are promising but lack sufficient support at this time. Few TNP studies have done in-home assessments and most studies rely on a PC or laptop.Conclusions: Overall, there appears to be good support for TNP assessments in older adults. Challenges to TNP in the current climate are discussed. Finally, a provisional outline of viable TNP procedures used in our clinic is provided.

Keywords: Telehealth; systematic review; teleneuropsychology; validity study.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy*
  • Databases, Factual / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests / standards*
  • Neuropsychology / methods
  • Neuropsychology / standards*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Telemedicine / methods
  • Telemedicine / standards*