The Advisory Board Company recently released their thoughts on the future of neurodegenerative care. They note that the prevalence of neurodegenerative disorders (NDD) is rising as the U.S. population ages. Soon the NDD population will encapsulate younger and more diverse populations as well, but our current diagnostic infrastructure is ill prepared for the challenge.
The Advisory Board Company’s excellent perspective identifies 4 key themes when thinking about the future of NDD:
The NDD patient population will become younger - Today, most NDD patients are 60+, but as diagnostics improve (👋) we’ll be able to capture these diseases earlier, making us much more effective at treating them. This will also create new dynamics as the younger population will be more digitally fluent and frequently have private payers, changing reimbursement dynamics.
Accessible diagnostics will be necessary for the future of NDD care - Many NDD patients are never diagnosed or are diagnosed far too late in the disease’s progression. 90% of older adults with symptoms consistent with dementia have never received a formal diagnosis. This can largely be traced back to social, rather than clinical, reasons. Being diagnosed can involve regular hourly trips and require more intensive involvement from caregivers, putting significant strains on family.
Health equity will prove critical in being able to reach all patients - It’s also critical to design a system for those who cannot get access to quality diagnostics today. ⅔ of Americans live outside a 90 minute helicopter ride from neurocritical care. To effectively diagnose NDD, we must create a system that can reach everybody.
Passive monitoring will become the standard of care to enable more timely and reliable diagnoses - NDD can be near impossible to detect in a one-hour or even one-week visit. The only way to truly capture NDD as early as possible is to incorporate passive, long-term monitoring. This will allow clinicians to set a baseline and see changes in brain function as potential diseases progress.
What this means:
At Epitel, we couldn’t have put it better ourselves. As we see more NDD, new challenges will arise, but the opportunity to help is massive. We’re building our platform to provide access to brain diagnostics to everybody - it’s affordable, remote, and built for quick diagnostics and long-term monitoring. Our future is one in which every interested patient can use a discreet wearable to passively monitor brain activity to improve their quality of life!