The Importance of Ongoing Cognitive Assessment and the Risks in Delaying Preventive Care

Ongoing cognitive assessment is critical for monitoring cognitive functioning and detecting cognitive impairments before progression into advanced stages. However, as the focus in the past 12 months has been on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans have gone an entire year without preventive care.

From a lack of resources to a hesitancy to visit hospitals, Americans have spent a year putting off primary care medical visits. Dr. Wayne Frederick, professor of surgery at Howard University School of Medicine, believes that after a year of forgoing preventive checkups, many health issues have gone undiagnosed since the pandemic began. Additionally, statistics show that communities of color are at even greater risk without proper access to preventive care.

 

COVID-19 and the impact on preventive care screenings

The start of the pandemic shifted health care resources from prevention and primary care to pandemic response efforts. This has led to an increase in the number of missed screenings for numerous conditions that can result in a worse prognosis when diagnosis is delayed. 

In fact, an August 2020 survey by Prevent Cancer Foundation found that 43% of people have missed preventive care appointments since the pandemic started. Epic Health Research Network also reported a 66% decline in screenings for breast, colon, and cervical cancers between March and June 2020.

 

Communities of color are disproportionately impacted

For the first time in decades, life expectancy in the US decreased by one year. People of color have been disproportionately impacted by the reduced access to primary care. According to the CDC, in 2020, excess deaths increased by 44.9% for Latino populations and 28.1% for Black populations. For white populations, the excess deaths were up 14.7%. People of color, who already see higher rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, are at even greater risk when prevention services are disrupted.

 

The importance of remote ongoing cognitive assessment

Prevention reduces both disease mortality and health care costs. Expanding telehealth and providing more accessible options will be critical for health care providers to reach all patients. 

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, remote cognitive testing has been a convenient way to continue providing high levels of care for those with behavioral and cognitive health needs, and will continue to be in the months and years to come. Preventive care remains critical for detecting conditions before they progress to less treatable advanced stages. Assessments are crucial for early detection and treatment of cognitive impairments, and if cognitive decline continues they are a fast and reliable way to aid physicians in determining if treatment is working and if there needs to be an escalation in care.

 

BrainCheck facilitates on-going cognitive assessment

With BrainCheck’s remote assessment features, providers can continue regular cognitive assessments — which are essential — from wherever their patients would prefer. Start a free 30-day trial of BrainCheck’s comprehensive, easy-to-use cognitive assessment platform.

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