Spain-based health tech company, Accexible has partnered with BoxHealth and Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to pilot a “digital system that identifies vocal biomarkers for disease detection and monitoring”.
Using voice recognition, the Accexible alert system is said to “detect early stages of cognitive impairment and can also be used as a monitoring tool to track how a condition is evolving”. The company is also in the process of developing models that can detect other mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety, “as well as specific neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke”.
It’s said to work by digitally analysing voice and linguistic features in voice recordings, reportedly offering results within a couple of minutes. In Spain, where “the average time it takes a person with memory problems to make a first appointment to discuss the issue is 20 months”, the pilot has been found to offer “a 60 second test with 90% accuracy”.
Discussing the promise of the system for Cornwall, Carla Zaldua Aguirre, CEO and co-founder of Accexible, said: “Our models can detect neurocognitive impairment over the phone, which means those living remotely in the region could still get a dementia diagnosis without having to travel miles to the nearest surgery or hospital. In Cornwall, there’s the advantage of only having to deal with one integrated care system. There’s also an established healthtech innovation ecosystem, and that supportive network is very attractive to innovators like Accexible who are quite daunted by the complexity of the UK market.”
Dr Simon Vann Jones, old age psychiatrist and NIHR specialty research lead for dementia in the South West Peninsula region, added: “We have been working closely with Accexible and BoxHealth on the voice diagnostic project here in Cornwall. So far, the response from our patients has been overwhelmingly positive and we have the potential to reach the hard-to-reach, relieve pressure on primary vare and correctly identify those in need of more help. We are excited for the future possibilities of this project.”
In other news from Cornwall, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has announced the development of its electronic patient record (EPR) programme, set to eventually replace “many of their current digital and paper-based systems” with a single platform for patient information.