App for accurate detection and monitoring of delirium

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Patient in hospital
Patient in hospital

University: University of Edinburgh

Sector(s): Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Information & Communications Technologies, Life Sciences, Other

About Opportunity:

Delirium is a sudden disruption in consciousness and cognition marked by an inability to focus and sustain attention. Delirium is extremely common, affecting around one in eight general hospital patients and one in three patients in ICU. It can occur at any age but is particularly common in older patients in hospital, where it is often mistaken for dementia. Delirium tends to develop after infection or surgery, or as a result of drug side-effects, and has serious consequences: it affects how long patients stay in hospital and their future mental and physical well-being as well as increasing the risk for future dementia and death. There is therefore an urgent need for new objective tools which can accurately detect and track delirium severity over time in hospitalised patients.


DelApp is a novel app based cognitive test, which can objectively detect delirium in patients. Initial trials demonstrate that the app has excellent usability, can help discriminate delirium from other conditions with similar symptoms such as dementia and track changes in delirium severity. A mobile app test for assessing attentional deficits, which can accurately distinguish whether an individual is exhibiting a delirium episode and requires further investigation, or whether the symptoms are due to other conditions such as dementia. The test is straightforward to implement, and the results are readily interpretable. Pilot studies in selected patients in general wards and ICU demonstrate excellent sensitivity and specificity of the test and a large scale clinical trial in unselected patient groups is on-going. The test has potential uses in a range of hospital settings to improve detection of the condition. Importantly it also enables accurate and objective monitoring of the condition over time in order to assess improvement in the patient for hospital discharge.

Key Benefits:

  • The sensitive and specific app based test is portable, easy to use and requires little training
  • Testing inattention, a key diagnostic feature of delirium, rapidly, impartially and quantitatively
  • Can accurately discriminate delirium from other causes of inattention leading to effective clinical management


  • Easy and accurate detection and monitoring of delirium in range of healthcare settings: ICU, A&E, General Wards, nursing homes

IP Status:

Granted Patents in USA and Europe protecting the test format. US 9307940.

EP 2485645


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