A better, faster way
to assess people
with memory problems
What is Cognospeak?
CognoSpeakTM engages the patient in a conversation – something that is known to place a high cognitive demand on multiple domains involving memory, language and attention. CognoSpeak asks memory-probing questions inspired by those used in outpatient consultations and conducts cognitive tests such as picture descriptions and verbal fluency tests.
How it works?
The early detection of memory problems is important for patient care and wellbeing. However, memory clinics are currently oversubscribed with the number of referrals having increased almost 7-fold from 2009 to 2014. The tool could mean memory assessment clinics can see more people, more quickly, reducing delays. It may also allow some people with cognitive complaints not due to diseases like Alzheimer’s to be reassured more quickly and provided with appropriate advice and support.
Record conversation with
CognoSpeak virtual agent
Speech is analysed for patterns
Clinicians receive a report
Very busy + Simple tools
Current diagnostic pathways are under extreme pressure.
Very busy + Simple tools
CognoSpeak prioritises those
who need to see a specialist
CognoSpeak™ will save money and free up clinician time
The Story So Far
We tested CognoSpeak with individuals with neurodegenerative and functional memory problems, as well as healthy controls, and achieved a level of accuracy comparable to traditional cognitive tests. We want to continue improving CognoSpeak while making sure it is accessible to everyone. The collaboration with Israac Somali Community Centre helped us to identify areas of improvement, such as including a more diverse choice of avatars. We are also training CognoSpeak to be equally effective for users who do not use English as their first language.
Working with end users and clinicians
University of Sheffield
Lead academic applicants with internationally leading expertise in automatic non-invasive tools for interaction-based assessment of cognitive impairment and extensive knowledge in the area of speech analytics and healthcare.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals
Supporting the identification and recruitment of participants including collection of demographic data, storing and uploading onto Sheffield Teaching Hospitals databases. Also help with submission of the ethical amendment, and during the study will help maintain site file, upload data recruits onto a database for CRN portfolio metrics.
Therapy Box Ltd
In 2019, we started collaborating with Therapy Box. They are an SME based in London with extensive experience in health technology, and a track record of successfully commercialising speech-related technology in the NHS, and abroad. They have developed a number of successful speech-based technologies including the VocaTempo with researchers at the University of Sheffield. Therapy Box is also a partner on the EU H2020 Training network TAPAS where Christensen is the Sheffield PI.
In early 2020, we ran a workshop with Therapy Box (fascilitated by mHabitat) for people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer's Disease and their families to explore barriers to uptake of a technology like CognoSpeak™. We also worked with clinicians in the diagnostic pathway to map out how CognoSpeak™ will be integrated in current primary and secondary care.
Devices for Dignity
Devices for Dignity is an NIHR MedTech Co-operative based in Sheffield. They are based with the NHS and specialise in aiding the adoption of innovative medical devices, healthcare technologies and technology-dependent interventions. We have worked with Lise Sproson to develop grant proposals and fascilitate work with our local PPIE groups.
Co-PI and Technical lead. Professor in the Department of Computer Science in the Speech and Hearing Group at the University of Sheffield. Heidi has been working at the leading edge of speech technology research for 20 years and has made internationally recognised contributions in the field of speech technology for healthcare.
Co-PI & Clinical lead. Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield and Honorary Consultant Neurologist. Dan’s research interests are into developing non-invasive scalable diagnostic tests for early dementia or cognitive impairment. Dan will oversee recruitment, diagnoses and overall project management including continued strong engagement with ethnic minority groups.
Academic GP; Clinical Research Network lead for primary care in South Yorkshire and will help with opening GP sites and patient recruitment.
Health Economist. Experienced staff from York Health Economic Consortium will provide health economics and outcomes research.
Experienced financial manager from ISRAAC. He will support recruiting from ISRAAC community group & supervision of Research Champions.
Co-founder of Therapy Box. Swapnil will lead the work on commercialisation and general software development including Memory Assessment Pathway integration infrastructure.
Co-founder of Therapy Box. Rebecca will lead the work on seeking regulatory approval and user experience for the software development team.
Academic GP with expertise and interest in memory assessment and stratification and diagnosis of dementia in primary care.
She is an experienced Public Patient Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) researcher and will be coordinating all PPIE activity and links with ethnic minority groups and user evaluation stakeholders.
Clinical PPI lead for South Yorkshire CRN and Advisor to NIHR INVOLVE. He has an outstanding record of improving engagement for BAME communities. He advised on the NIHR INVOLVE paper on Strategies for diversity and inclusion in public involvement.
The lead Old Age Psychiatrist and experienced in diagnosing, assessing and treating people with cognitive impairment and dementia.She will identify participants from the Old Age Psychiatry clinic.
Professor of Neurology. He is experienced in developing clinical diagnostic aids based on patient-doctor interactions.
Senior University of Sheffield commercial manager will lead on the business model.
Translational Research Project Manager, provides project oversight and monitors milestone progression.
Research Assistant. Helps with participant recruitment and public and patient involvement.
Project co-ordinator. Helps with digital project management and coordination.