Evaluating the Feasibility of Frequent Cognitive Assessment Using the Mezurio Smartphone App: Observational and Interview Study in Adults With Elevated Dementia Risk.
Lancaster C., Koychev I., Blane J., Chinner A., Wolters L., Hinds C.
BACKGROUND: By enabling frequent, sensitive, and economic remote assessment, smartphones will facilitate the detection of early cognitive decline at scale. Previous studies have sustained participant engagement with remote cognitive assessment over a week; extending this to a period of 1 month clearly provides a greater opportunity for measurement. However, as study durations are increased, the need to understand how participant burden and scientific value might be optimally balanced also increases. OBJECTIVE: This study explored the little but often approach to assessment employed by the Mezurio app when prompting participants to interact every day for over a month. Specifically, this study aimed to understand whether this extended duration of remote study is feasible, and which factors promote sustained participant engagement over such periods. METHODS: A total of 35 adults (aged 40-59 years) with no diagnosis of cognitive impairment were prompted to interact with the Mezurio smartphone app platform for up to 36 days, completing short, daily episodic memory tasks in addition to optional executive function and language tests. A subset (n=20) of participants completed semistructured interviews focused on their experience of using the app. RESULTS: Participants complied with 80% of the daily learning tasks scheduled for subsequent tests of episodic memory, with 88% of participants still actively engaged by the final task. A thematic analysis of the participants' experiences highlighted schedule flexibility, a clear user interface, and performance feedback as important considerations for engagement with remote digital assessment. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the extended study duration, participants demonstrated high compliance with the schedule of daily learning tasks and were extremely positive about their experiences. Long durations of remote digital interaction are therefore definitely feasible but only when careful attention is paid to the design of the users' experience.