Assessing the Views of Professionals, Patients, and Care Partners Concerning the Use of Computer Tools in Memory Clinics: International Survey Study

JMIR Form Res. 2021 Dec 3;5(12):e31053. doi: 10.2196/31053.


Background: Computer tools based on artificial intelligence could aid clinicians in memory clinics in several ways, such as by supporting diagnostic decision-making, web-based cognitive testing, and the communication of diagnosis and prognosis.

Objective: This study aims to identify the preferences as well as the main barriers and facilitators related to using computer tools in memory clinics for all end users, that is, clinicians, patients, and care partners.

Methods: Between July and October 2020, we sent out invitations to a web-based survey to clinicians using the European Alzheimer's Disease Centers network and the Dutch Memory Clinic network, and 109 clinicians participated (mean age 45 years, SD 10; 53/109, 48.6% female). A second survey was created for patients and care partners. They were invited via Alzheimer Europe, Alzheimer's Society United Kingdom, Amsterdam Dementia Cohort, and Amsterdam Aging Cohort. A total of 50 patients with subjective cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, or dementia (mean age 73 years, SD 8; 17/34, 34% female) and 46 care partners (mean age 65 years, SD 12; 25/54, 54% female) participated in this survey.

Results: Most clinicians reported a willingness to use diagnostic (88/109, 80.7%) and prognostic (83/109, 76.1%) computer tools. User-friendliness (71/109, 65.1%); Likert scale mean 4.5, SD 0.7), and increasing diagnostic accuracy (76/109, 69.7%; mean 4.3, SD 0.7) were reported as the main factors stimulating the adoption of a tool. Tools should also save time and provide clear information on reliability and validity. Inadequate integration with electronic patient records (46/109, 42.2%; mean 3.8, SD 1.0) and fear of losing important clinical information (48/109, 44%; mean 3.7, SD 1.2) were most frequently indicated as barriers. Patients and care partners were equally positive about the use of computer tools by clinicians, both for diagnosis (69/96, 72%) and prognosis (73/96, 76%). In addition, most of them thought favorably regarding the possibility of using the tools themselves.

Conclusions: This study showed that computer tools in memory clinics are positively valued by most end users. For further development and implementation, it is essential to overcome the technical and practical barriers of a tool while paying utmost attention to its reliability and validity.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; clinical decision support systems; communication; dementia; diagnosis; diagnostic testing; prognosis.