A Smartphone App to Screen for HIV-Related Neurocognitive Impairment

TitleA Smartphone App to Screen for HIV-Related Neurocognitive Impairment
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsRobbins, RN, Brown, H, Ehlers, A, Joska, JA, Thomas, KG, Burgess, R, Byrd, D, Morgello, S
JournalJournal of Mobile Technology in Medicine
Date Published02/2014
Keywordsapplication, HIV, Internal, neurocognitive, smartphone, test

BACKGROUND: Neurocognitive Impairment (NCI) is one of the most common complications of HIV-infection, and has serious medical and functional consequences. However, screening for it is not routine and NCI often goes undiagnosed. Screening for NCI in HIV disease faces numerous challenges, such as limited screening tests, the need for specialized equipment and apparatuses, and highly trained personnel to administer, score and interpret screening tests. To address these challenges, we developed a novel smartphone-based screening tool, NeuroScreen, to detect HIV-related NCI that includes an easy-to-use graphical user interface with ten highly automated neuropsychological tests.  AIMS: To examine NeuroScreen's: 1) acceptability among patients and different potential users; 2) test construct and criterion validity; and 3) sensitivity and specificity to detect NCI.  METHODS: Fifty HIV+ individuals were administered a gold-standard neuropsychological test battery, designed to detect HIV-related NCI, and NeuroScreen. HIV+ test participants and eight potential provider-users of NeuroScreen were asked about its acceptability.  RESULTS: There was a high level of acceptability of NeuroScreen by patients and potential provider-users. Moderate to high correlations between individual NeuroScreen tests and paper-and-pencil tests assessing the same cognitive domains were observed. NeuroScreen also demonstrated high sensitivity to detect NCI.  CONCLUSION: NeuroScreen, a highly automated, easy-to-use smartphone-based screening test to detect NCI among HIV patients and usable by a range of healthcare personnel could help make routine screening for HIV-related NCI feasible. While NeuroScreen demonstrated robust psychometric properties and acceptability, further testing with larger and less neurocognitively impaired samples is warranted.