Innovator:DECODE, University of Exeter


The project

The University of Exeter has developed a software system which supports clinical decision-making to enhance the timely diagnosis of dementia. The DEmentia identification COmputerized DEcision support system (DECODE) is an evidence-based computerised decision support system. This intelligent system was designed in partnership with patients, carers and healthcare professionals to help clinicians identify dementia ‘disease signatures’ earlier and more accurately.

DECODE draws on patient data from around the world using machine learning and statistical methods. DECODE is considerably more accurate than the current ‘gold standard’ brief cognitive assessments such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the General Practitioner assessment of Cognition (GPCOG).

Trials of DECODE are taking place in both primary and secondary care with the aim of increasing the number of patients with dementia identified, reducing unnecessary referrals and assessments, and reducing memory clinic waiting times and costs.

How did the Innovation Exchange help?

In order to work towards CE marking and full regulatory approval as a Class I medical device we received £2,500 from the Academic Health Science Network to pay for consultancy advice to review our technical file. The outcome of the consultancy advice provided us with the information we needed to submit a further successful grant application to the EPSRC. This grant has now allowed us to be in a position to submit an application to the MHRA, by developing a Quality Management System and fund a team of experienced software developers and regulatory consultant specialists.


DECODE has the potential to accelerate access to care, reduce distress and anxiety in patients who don’t have dementia, improve dementia diagnostic rates and improve cost efficiency across the health system.


DECODE is an exciting development which has the potential to provide huge benefit to those of us trying to diagnose dementia, as well as to the wider health system. Most importantly, it benefits patients who will receive a more accurate, timely diagnosis allowing them to access services sooner.

Dr Peter Bagshaw
Director of the NHS South West Clinical Network for Dementia and General Practitioner