Physician Innovation…What If


What if…”we could develop a (method) that was faster, and provide the type of clinical expertise that a clinical neurologist would ask, to the fingertips of laymen,” asked Anitha Rao, MD, MA. I recently met Dr. Rao, who is one of just 1,000 physicians globally with training in geriatric neurology and dementia, to learn about why and how she is answering this question.

Unbeknownst to her at the time, the path to entrepreneurship began with clinical experience in helping patients and their caregivers diagnose and navigate the various stages of memory loss. Dr. Rao identified common threads across symptoms, questions, and frustrations expressed by caregivers. These commonalities led her and a social worker to wonder if dementia care plans and education could be accurately generated using technology. Through experimentation, they found that it can – even in difficult cases.

Using evidence-based research and clinical guidelines, the Neurocern platform guides family members and caregivers through a series of questions about the patient’s symptoms and concerns. The answers are analyzed using a proprietary algorithm and a series of predictive and prescriptive analytics to create a care plan from the personalized brain profile of the patient. Additionally, it provides a library of suggestions on managing and mitigating certain behaviors and situations. For instance, educating on how mirrors may cause a patient to have a traumatic response and/or an aversion to bathing out of fear that their own reflection is a stranger or intruder in the room.

The case for this type of caregiver resource is significant – particularly for geographic areas identified as “dementia deserts.” Desert designations have been assigned to 20 states in Neurocern’s ANDI study (Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Neurology Desert Index) as having the lowest projected ratio of neurologists per 10,000 dementia patients based upon population health data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The list includes states such as Wyoming, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota and Oklahoma.

According to Beth Kallmyer, MSW, Vice President of Constituent Services at the Alzheimer’s Association, “This intriguing study highlights several issues, including the clear inequality that exists across the United States in distribution of health resources and specialist knowledge to diagnose and treat brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.”

Clinical extension solutions like Neurocern have a fit in helping providers and payers reach and leverage an untapped valuable resource – the family and caregivers within the patient’s home. The industry is at an infantile stage when it comes to this type of engagement but the progression of its use is inevitable. For more information go to

Look for additional physician driven innovations in future articles. If you’d like to nominate a company, invention, or process to be considered, please email

Originally featured in Orlando Medical News