Monday, June 3, 2013

So, should we move to WAIS on the iPad?

So, will I use WAIS-IV on the iPad after the trial is over?

This is  the bottom line, isn't it?

I found it to be a bit more fun assessing on the iPad - not unimportant for those of us who are close to burn-out because of constant testing. The geek appeal of using the iPads was somewhat moderatedby my feeling that an iPad app should be sleeker than what was offered.

Also, the fact that I don't have to add all the numbers within the subtests (twice, to make sure I do not make mistakes - just because I am paranoid), was a very nice feature. Again, the joy of this was moderated by the fact that getting to raw scores after the administration to put them into scoring software is a bit of a pain. The iPad provides a decent selection of results (index scores, scaled scores, significance of differences between indexes including base rates), but I need to compare  WAIS to  WMS, and that cannot be done on the iPad.

Another issue is that somewhere at the back of my mind there is a worry that electronic administration is less reliable than paper one, and that a catastrophe may happen. I am happy to report, however, that so far the app seems very solid. 

For me, another issue to deal with is that I perform a significant number of forensic assessments in jails, which do not allow electronic equipment.

The financials, I suspect, will be the most important issue in my adoption of iPad administration.

The price of two iPads is much lower than the price of even one of the test batteries that can be accessed through the app. Two iPads with minimum necessary configuration can be bought for considerably less than a thousand dollars, while a WAIS-IV currently costs $2,720, and WISC-IV costs $2,784. Both can be used through app, which also has California Verbal Learning Test and some subtests of the DKEFS. This price difference will become even more pronounced once WMS-IV is put on the iPad, which seems to be a plan for the near future.

On the other hand, there is the yearly Q-interactive subscription cost, which I believe to be about $300, and extra cost of administering the tests. According to my calculations, the cost of standard set of WAIS-IV forms for one client is currently $19.52 (calculated without Cancellation booklet, but including the price of delivery) . The cost of iPad administration of 10 WAIS-IV subtests and the cost of Coding booklet is $29.70: a diference of $10.18 per client. Interestingly, while the cost of each WAIS-IV subtest is $2.20, the cost of a WISC subtest is $1.50, so those specialising in children may have a much better financial situation.

Therefore, on-going costs are higher, but up-front costs are considerably lower. Whether it is  good or bad will depend on how many assessments one does in a week. I suspect that for any person starting a private practice in neuropsychology, or running a small private practice part-time this may be a very worthwhile deal. For those who already have the necessary test batteries, it probably won't be financially worthwhile to switch. This may be a different story, however, when new versions of the big batteries appear on the market.

So, will I move onto the iPad?

I probably will not.

I already have the batteries, and each administration on the iPad will cost me more than using paper forms. If the access to raw data was handy, I may consider increased price to be worth the time I spend scoring the test. If the app was a touch sleeker, I may not be able to resist using it for the fun value.
However, the app is still changing.

I will wait for the next version of t!


PS: This was written a fortnight ago, while I was off work being busy with other things for a month. Today was my first day back seeing clients, and I've done 3 paper-based WAIS-IVs. I missed doing it on the iPad! I may have to mix and match for my own amusement.  Also, a new version of the app has come out last Friday and I need to download it and mess around with it a little. I'll tell all in the next installment.