Caring for the growing dementia population with complex health care needs in West Virginia has been challenging due to its large, sizably rural-dwelling geriatric population and limited resource availability.
This paper aims to illustrate the application of an informatics platform to drive dementia research and quality care through a preliminary study of benzodiazepine (BZD) prescription patterns and its effects on health care use by geriatric patients.
The Maier Institute Data Mart, which contains clinical and billing data on patients aged 65 years and older (N=98,970) seen within our clinics and hospital, was created. Relevant variables were analyzed to identify BZD prescription patterns and calculate related charges and emergency department (ED) use.
Nearly one-third (4346/13,910, 31.24%) of patients with dementia received at least one BZD prescription, 20% more than those without dementia. More women than men received at least one BZD prescription. On average, patients with dementia and at least one BZD prescription sustained higher charges and visited the ED more often than those without one.
The Appalachian Informatics Platform has the potential to enhance dementia care and research through a deeper understanding of dementia, data enrichment, risk identification, and care gap analysis.

©Niharika Bhardwaj, Alfred A Cecchetti, Usha Murughiyan, Shirley Neitch. Originally published in JMIR Medical Informatics (, 04.08.2020.