Dementia Screening Tool (DST): An Evidence-based Dementia Screening Tool for iOS and Android Devices
In a busy primary care practice, providers frequently encounter patients or their family members who request dementia screening. Although my current clinic has a neurologist and neuropsychologist available, a fully functional dementia clinic is likely not available to most community-based primary care providers. So how does a busy primary care provider screen for dementia? There are many validated screening tools including the Mini-Cog, MoCA, MMSE, SLUMS, and AD8 among others. Here at iMedicalApps, we have reviewed a number of geriatrics apps including many from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) — including Geriatrics at Your Fingertips, Multimorbidity/MCC GEMS,iGeriatrics, and AGS GEMS — that contain some of these tools. Last year, I reviewed the app AlzDxRx which helps providers screen, diagnose, and manage patients with Alzheimer’s disease and contains several tools including the Mini-Cog. However, it did not contain the SLUMS or MoCa, as these are proprietary screening tools. Subsequently, we favorably reviewed a dedicated SLUMS app called eSLUMS. Now another dementia screening called the Dementia Screening Tool (DST) is available for iOS and Android devices. The DST is an approved medical device and was developed in Germany by Dr. Sebastian Horn. The author’s website claims a sensitivity of 97% for the DST.
The app does not contain references for any of its content or references for DST compared to Mini-Cog, MoCA, MMSE, SLUMS, etc. though this info is widely available in other medical references. The DST reportedly has a sensitivity/specificity greater than MMSE and on par with the MoCA and Mini-Cog. The app is essentially a “calculator app,” but does have some limited information on “next steps,” “results interpretation,” etc.
What providers would benefit from this medical app?
Patients and their family members, students, residents, mid-levels, family medicine, internal medicine and subspecialties, and geriatrics providers. The app could really benefit any provider who sees geriatrics patients and may have to diagnose dementia.
- Brings the DST “medical device” to iOS and Android devices
- Data input and clock drawing tests work well on a mobile device
- Available for Android
- No information on evidence for DST compared to other screening tools or references
- Explanation of results is incomplete
The Dementia Screening Test (DST) is an excellent addition to the growing library of dementia screeners available in the app stores. The app is designed specifically for patient and/or informant use but can be used by providers as well. The app lacks any of the references and/or “evidence,” but you can find evidence for the DST in medical reference apps.
Easy to start and complete an assessment on iPhone or iPad with minimal learning curve.
The app allows for easy input of data with built-in help such as auto-complete, but no references of “evidence” provided.
App is $4.99, which may be too costly for some.
Real World Applicability
Dementia Screening Test (DST) is an excellent free POC app that brings an evidence-based dementia screener to the iPhone. The DST score can be used with apps such as AlzDxRx to aid diagnosing patients with Alzheimer’s disease. There truly is no “one best” screening test for dementia, but the easier the better and that is true of DST.
Device Used For Review
Phone 8 running iOS 12.1.2.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.