This is unpublished
Dr. Barak Gaster
February 5, 2024

Cognition in Primary Care Program launches

The Cognition in Primary Care Program, which helps primary care providers evaluate and manage cognitive impairment, is now available at all of UW Medicine's primary care clinics.
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Over the past three years, Dr. Barak Gaster, professor (General Internal Medicine) has led a team to design, build, and launch UW Medicine’s Cognition in Primary Care Program.

The program’s goal is to provide education and tools to help primary care providers (PCPs) evaluate and manage cognitive impairment in the primary care setting. Supported by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the program is now available at all primary care clinics at UW Medicine, where more than 100 PCPs have completed the training.

Improving quality of life for patients with cognitive decline

By providing PCPs with a framework for evaluation—including checklist reminder tools in Epic—plus tips for maintaining brain health and discussing care options with patients and their families, the program aims to improve quality of life for patients with cognitive decline.

With the help of Jaqueline Raetz, associate professor of Family Medicine, the program has been implemented across all 16 clinics in the UW Primary Care Network. A six-month follow-up survey of PCPs reported overwhelmingly positive feedback. The majority of respondents said they are more knowledgeable about and more confident in assessing cognitive concerns. One PCP remarked that the training was “one of the most practical and helpful CME's I've ever attended.” Plans are now underway to package the program for dissemination to healthcare systems across the country.

Gaster’s co-principal investigators are Drs. Annette Fitzpatrick (Family Medicine) and Jaqueline Raetz (Family Medicine). Co-investigators are Drs. Basia Belza (School of Nursing) and Josh Liao, affiliate associate professor (General Internal Medicine).