New revolutionary technology which screens and delivers an early diagnosis of dementia is to be rolled out across Ireland in Spring 2018. The technology, which was created by Nightingale Analytics Ltd, will be delivered to patients across Ireland through the online GP service, VideoDoc.

The service offers three unique advantages to the current system of screening:

– The diagnosis of dementia can now be done online with the support of your family and friends
– The diagnosis process has now been accelerated from several months down to just thirty minutes
– This model looks at all the risks associated with dementia to predict the progress of the dementia severity

Dementia is one of the biggest killers in Ireland and one of the main causes of disability later in life, ahead of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke. The Central Statistics Office predicts that the population of people with dementia in Ireland, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, will increase from an estimated 48,000 (2015) to around 140,000 by 2041 — a 240% increase in the 2006 figure of 41,447. They estimate that over 11 people a day are diagnosed with dementia.

VideoDoc CEO Mary O’Brien said, ‘VideoDoc are delighted to be partnering with Nightingale Analytics Ltd to help deliver this innovative and game-changing technology to Irish users. This is such an important advancement for the Irish health services and is one which could offer enormous relief and space for forward planning for families across Ireland. After completion of a simple online memory assessment, the Nightingale Analytics platform will weigh and score the individual’s severity of dementia and they will be connected to a dementia trained doctor via the VideoDoc service who will guide the patient through the process in a professional and compassionate manner. The doctor will be able to utilise the intelligent insight of the patients’ dementia severity together with their professional experience to offer a diagnosis for the patient and can immediately start a treatment plan which can then be shared with the patients local GP for continuity of care.’

Brendan Crossey, Programme Director of Nightingale Analytics Limited said, ‘We are extremely excited to roll out this programme across Ireland. This has the potential to deliver real change to people, and their families, who may be in danger of developing dementia. Early diagnosis and treatment can delay the onset of the disease by 2 years which could half the number of deaths from the condition, saving 3,000 lives a year in Ireland as well as saving the Irish Health Service approximately €500m per annum.

Continuing Brendan Crossey said ‘This new service will not replace the role a GP will play in the treatment of a person with dementia, instead it will work to support them. Currently, there is no standard process for local GPs to diagnose dementia. Trends show that GPs tend to adopt their own set of assessments and rely heavily on the memory clinics. Unfortunately, memory clinics are overrun and suffer from a lack of resources leaving GP’s unequipped to deliver a prognosis in a timely manner. We believe that we can transform this process by supporting the GP with the ability, using our standardised and validated service, to diagnose their patients within the 8-10 minutes standard appointment period’.

ICGP Founding Member and Medical Director of VideoDoc Conor O’Hanlon said, ‘As a medical professional, I am enthusiastic about this innovative technological advancement which can only serve to improve our current diagnosis structure, and as a result, care structure for people with Dementia. Dementia is a progressive and very complex disease and is one which we still have a lot to learn about. Early diagnosis is critical and allows people to undertake the appropriate actions to help them and their family deal with the prognosis. As such I welcome this service and look forward to seeing it being implemented by GP’s across Ireland”.

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