Autumn Special Edition 2021

BrainCheck: Rapid, Reliable Cognitive Health Technology


Founded in 2015 by neuroscientists and technologists Dr. David Eagleman and Dr. Yael Katz, BrainCheck helps reduce the human and economic toll of cognitive impairment and dementia through its interactive cognitive assessment and cognitive care planning technology. Hundreds of hospitals and clinical practices use the BrainCheck platform, to help thousands of patients live better and safer lives at home, to decrease caregiver frustration, and to save health systems trillions of dollars.

The company envisions a world where everyone has access to insight about their cognitive function. Where cognitive changes are detected early and where diseases like Alzheimer’s and other dementias are preventable and treatable. A world without cognitive impairment.

Adopting the BrainCheck platform benefits providers, practices, hospitals, and health systems in a number of ways. Simplifying and streamlining cognitive assessment. Providing additional revenue through Medicare reimbursement or risk adjustment. And most importantly, by improving care for patients.

"The company envisions a world where everyone has access to insight about their cognitive function."

Screening and Early Detection

Too often, cognitive impairment goes unnoticed until it has progressed to advanced stages. But studies show that early detection is essential, and the American Academy of Neurology recommends an annual cognitive screening.

The BrainCheck platform can help providers determine which patients need focused cognitive assessment, with a range of screening tools to provide early and accurate impressions of cognitive function. The platform also includes screening tools for common comorbid concerns and reversible conditions.

The company's custom,  general-purpose screening tool, the BrainCheck™ Outcome Screener, can give providers an initial overview of their patients’ levels of cognitive function, call attention to potential concerns, and reveal how impairment differs depending on the individual. The BrainCheck platform includes digital versions of many commonly used, subjective screeners for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. These include the St. Louis University Mental Status (SLUMS) exam and the Short IQCODE. Additional cognitive screening tools included with the BrainCheck platform include digital versions of the clock-drawing test, a cognitive decline questionnaire, and a range of screening tools for detecting traumatic brain injury.

"BrainCheck is quicker and more pleasant for my patients, which makes it easier for my techs. It's a win-win for everyone," said Dr. Brian L. Seymore, Comprehensive Neurology Care.

Advanced Digital Cognitive Assessment

When screening tools indicate possible cognitive concerns — or when patients have subjective memory complaints — the BrainCheck platform helps providers quickly and accurately assess cognitive function. With standard and customizable cognitive assessment batteries, support for multiple languages, and remote testing capabilities, the BrainCheck platform can help providers increase access to important cognitive care.

"You can tell BrainCheck really puts an emphasis on the platform’s ease of use. The tests are easier for patients to understand and easier for staff to remember," said Bruce Taylor, MD, Taylor Internal Medicine.

BrainCheck's standard cognitive assessment includes:

Memory: The Immediate and Delayed Recognition tests assess patients' ability to recognize items that previously appeared immediately after being prompted and after a time delay. These tests predominantly determine function in the temporal lobe, as well as in the frontal, parietal, and occipital lobes.

Attention: Trail Making A & B are established neuropsychological tests that measure visual search speed, scanning, processing speed, mental flexibility, and executive functioning. These tests provide insight into cognitive function in the frontal lobe, and also in the parietal and occipital lobes.

Executive Function: BrainCheck uses two well-established tests to assess executive function. The Digit-Symbol Substitution test measures processing speed and accuracy, and the Stroop Color and Word test measures reaction time required to overcome cognitive interference. These tests assess function primarily in the frontal lobe, as well as in the parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes.

Cognitive Care Planning

Cognitive care planning and care management are new, recommended services developed in partnership by the Alzheimer’s Association and CMS. These services enable caregivers to normalize to a particular level of deficit and focus on areas where patients need support, prolonging independence.

The BrainCheck platform’s cognitive care management tools streamline data collection to help providers deliver personalized interventions that can lead to preservation of activities of daily living and decrease frustration for patients and caregivers.

Cognitive care planning with the BrainCheck platform facilitates medication review and reconciliation, as certain medications and combinations of medications can cause or worsen the symptoms of cognitive impairment. The company's clinical-decision support algorithms may suggest personalized behavior-based interventions based on the patient’s unique cognitive and behavioral profile. These suggestions are based on the nine modifiable risk factors in the groundbreaking FINGER study.

"BrainCheck provides a way to look at cognitive decline in an efficient way that enables us to help patients rather than checking boxes," said Dr. Deborah Neiman, Affiliates in Internal Medicine.

Yael Katz, CEO and Co-Founder

Yael Katz, PhD, is a Northwestern- and Princeton-trained neuroscientist with a strong analytics background. Yael brings proven scientific and business leadership to BrainCheck, raising $12 million in venture capital, overseeing the development and commercialization of the company’s cognitive assessment and care platform, and cultivating a top-notch team with offices in Houston and Austin.

"Hundreds of hospitals and clinical practices use the BrainCheck platform, to help thousands of patients live better and safer lives at home, to decrease caregiver frustration, and to save health systems trillions of dollars."