Researchers Partner with Together Senior Health to Refine Detection Tool
CHICAGO - VillageMD Research Institute is one of three site collaborators selected to participate in a two-year study led by Together Senior Health and University of California San Francisco. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this project refines a tool that helps identify people with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia using electronic health record (EHR) information, claims, and other data. Results from the tool entitled eRADAR (EHR Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Assessment Rule) have been validated in other health systems and published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.
More than half of the 6.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are undiagnosed. Early identification would improve quality of life, allow for innovative new treatments, and care planning, as well as expand reimbursement options from health care organizations and insurance plans.
“With this algorithm, we have the potential to develop a standardized tool that can accurately screen millions of patients at one time and break down the barriers that exist in the primary care setting to early dementia diagnosis,” said Aaron Yao, PhD, lead researcher at the VillageMD Research Institute. “Having our collaborative research recognized by NIH is a tremendous accomplishment as these grants are very competitive and will lead the way towards improving the quality of life for both people living with debilitating diseases that affect cognition, memory, and the ability to perform daily tasks, as well as their family members and caregivers.”
Researchers have found that patients with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s and related dementias have warning signs in their claims, demographics, and health care data, such as history of stroke, recent visits to the emergency room, and not showing up for scheduled doctor’s appointments. The existing eRADAR, on which this new tool is based, uses dozens of EHR data points to assess the risk of cognitive decline and dementia from categories including demographics, diagnosis, vital signs, health care utilization, and medication history.
The goal of Yao and his collaborators is to expand and refine the eRADAR tool to become even more accurate. One limitation of eRADAR is that it does not learn or update to new data inputs. Over the next two years, the researchers will use machine learning to allow eRADAR to adapt to changes that occur over time.
“Together is excited to work with VillageMD, using data analytics to help payers and providers identify and treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia,” said Cynthia Benjamin, CEO and cofounder of Together Senior Health. “Reaching patients who would benefit from innovative
therapeutic programs will help reduce health care-related events and support people with dementia to stay healthy and independent at home.”
“We are thrilled to be a part of this study which could be an important stepping stone in improving value-based care for the masses. Our researchers can help refine this algorithm with the goal of improving early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,” said Clive Fields, MD, cofounder of VillageMD. “In any chronic disease, early detection is critical and offers a tremendous opportunity to improve outcomes for patients, reduce health care costs, and inform new treatments by identifying patients in the earliest stages of disease for clinical trials. This research could enhance the way people will receive care in the future.”
VillageMD provides high-quality, accessible health care services for individuals and communities across the United States, with primary, multi-specialty, and urgent care providers serving patients in traditional clinic settings, in patients’ homes and online appointments. Committed to serving all patients and working with all payers, VillageMD consistently innovates value-based care, bringing integrated applications, population insights and staffing expertise to its owned and affiliate practices, ensuring high-quality care, better patient outcomes and a reduction in the total cost of care. Through Village Medical, Village Medical at Home, Summit Health, CityMD and other practices, VillageMD serves millions of patients throughout their lives, wherever and whenever they need care. Its dedicated workforce of more than 20,000 operates from more than 700 practice locations in 26 markets. To learn more, please visit www.villageMD.com.
About VillageMD Research Institute
The VillageMD Research Institute is dedicated to generating, curating, and disseminating evidence of value-based care. Our mission is to improve health outcomes, lower costs, and enhance the patient and provider experience through rigorous research.
About Together Senior Health
Together Senior Health is an evidence-based, researched-backed online platform helping people with Alzheimer’s or dementia to stay healthy and independent at home.
Developed alongside partners at University of California, San Francisco, the therapeutic programs reduce the total cost of medical care and deliver additional value to plans. The Moving Together™ live-streaming group classes feature specialized content tailored to participants’ cognitive, social, and physical needs, and target functional benefits that increase quality of life and reduce health care utilization.
With seamless integration into health plans, Together gives members access to a first-of-its-kind effective solution for individuals with cognitive health needs without a prescription.
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