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JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies

Development and Evaluation of Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy and Assistive Technologies, Robotics, Prosthetics and Implants, Mobility and Communication Tools, Home Automation and Telerehabilitation


Recent Articles:

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Simon Fraser University - University Communications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Understanding the Digital Gap Among US Adults With Disability: Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Health Information National Trends Survey 2013


    Background: Disabilities affect more than 1 in 5 US adults, and those with disabilities face multiple barriers in accessing health care. A digital gap, defined as the disparity caused by differences in the ability to use advanced technologies, is assumed to be prevalent among individuals with disabilities. Objective: This study examined the associations between disability and use of information technology (IT) in obtaining health information and between trust factors and IT use. We hypothesized that compared to US adults without disabilities, those with disabilities are less likely to refer to the internet for health information, more likely to refer to a health care provider to obtain health information, and less likely to use IT to exchange medical information with a provider. Additionally, we hypothesized that trust factors, such as trust toward health information source and willingness to exchange health information, are associated with IT use. Methods: The primary database was the 2013 Health Information National Trends Survey 4 Cycle 3 (N=3185). Disability status, the primary study covariate, was based on 6 questions that encompassed a wide spectrum of conditions, including impairments in mobility, cognition, independent living, vision, hearing, and self-care. Study covariates included sociodemographic factors, respondents’ trust toward the internet and provider as information sources, and willingness to exchange medical information via IT with providers. Study outcomes were the use of the internet as the primary health information source, use of health care providers as the primary health information source, and use of IT to exchange medical information with providers. We conducted multivariate logistic regressions to examine the association between disability and study outcomes controlling for study covariates. Multiple imputations with fully conditional specification were used to impute missing values. Results: We found presence of any disability was associated with decreased odds (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.65, 95% CI 0.43-0.98) of obtaining health information from the internet, in particular for those with vision disability (AOR 0.27, 95% CI 0.11-0.65) and those with mobility disability (AOR 0.51, 95% CI 0.30-0.88). Compared to those without disabilities, those with disabilities were significantly more likely to consult a health care provider for health information in both actual (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.54-3.18) and hypothetical situations (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.24-2.60). Trust toward health information from the internet (AOR 3.62, 95% CI 2.07-6.33), and willingness to exchange via IT medical information with a provider (AOR 1.88, 95% CI 1.57-2.24) were significant predictors for seeking and exchanging such information, respectively. Conclusions: A potential digital gap may exist among US adults with disabilities in terms of their recent use of the internet for health information. Trust toward health information sources and willingness play an important role in people’s engagement in use of the internet for health information. Future studies should focus on addressing trust factors associated with IT use and developing tools to improve access to care for those with disabilities.

  • Wheelchair user using adapted Wii Fit Balance Board. Source: Figure 6 from; Copyright: the authors; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Adapting the Wii Fit Balance Board to Enable Active Video Game Play by Wheelchair Users: User-Centered Design and Usability Evaluation


    Background: Active video game (AVG) playing, also known as “exergaming,” is increasingly employed to promote physical activity across all age groups. The Wii Fit Balance Board is a popular gaming controller for AVGs and is used in a variety of settings. However, the commercial off-the-shelf (OTS) design poses several limitations. It is inaccessible to wheelchair users, does not support the use of stabilization assistive devices, and requires the ability to shift the center of balance (COB) in all directions to fully engage in game play. Objective: The aim of this study was to design an adapted version of the Wii Fit Balance Board to overcome the identified limitations and to evaluate the usability of the newly designed adapted Wii Fit Balance Board in persons with mobility impairments. Methods: In a previous study, 16 participants tried the OTS version of the Wii Fit Balance Board. On the basis of observed limitations, a team of engineers developed and adapted the design of the Wii Fit Balance Board, which was then subjected to multiple iterations of user feedback and design tweaks. On design completion, we recruited a new pool of participants with mobility impairments for a larger study. During their first visit, we assessed lower-extremity function using selected mobility tasks from the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. During a subsequent session, participants played 2 sets of games on both the OTS and adapted versions of the Wii Fit Balance Board. Order of controller version played first was randomized. After participants played each version, we administered the System Usability Scale (SUS) to examine the participants’ perceived usability. Results: The adapted version of the Wii Fit Balance Board resulting from the user-centered design approach met the needs of a variety of users. The adapted controller (1) allowed manual wheelchair users to engage in game play, which was previously not possible; (2) included Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant handrails as part of the controller, enabling stable and safe game play; and (3) included a sensitivity control feature, allowing users to fine-tune the controller to match the users’ range of COB motion. More than half the sample could not use the OTS version of the Wii Fit Balance Board, while all participants were able to use the adapted version. All participants rated the adapted Wii Fit Balance Board at a minimum as “good,” while those who could not use the OTS Wii Fit Balance Board rated the adapted Wii Fit Balance Board as “excellent.” We found a significant negative correlation between lower-extremity function and differences between OTS and adapted SUS scores, indicating that as lower-extremity function decreased, participants perceived the adapted Wii Fit Balance Board as more usable. Conclusions: This study demonstrated a successful adaptation of a widely used AVG controller. The adapted controller’s potential to increase physical activity levels among people with mobility impairments will be evaluated in a subsequent trial. Trial Registration: NCT02994199; (Archived by WebCite at

  • Woman accepting and signing her diagnosis with female physiotherapist. Source: Freepik; Copyright: Javier Sánchez; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Physiotherapy Questionnaires App to Deliver Main Musculoskeletal Assessment Questionnaires: Development and Validation Study


    Background: Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) translate subjective outcomes into objective data that can be quantified and analyzed. Nevertheless, the use of PROs in their traditional paper format is not practical for clinical practice due to limitations associated with the analysis and management of the data. To address the need for a viable way to group and utilize the main functioning assessment tools in the field of musculoskeletal disorders, the Physiotherapy Questionnaires app was developed. Objective: This study aims to explain the development of the app, to validate it using two questionnaires, and to analyze whether participants prefer to use the app or the paper version of the questionnaires. Methods: In the first stage, the app for an Android operational system was developed. In the second stage, the aim was to select questionnaires that were most often used in musculoskeletal clinical practice and research. The Foot and Ankle Outcome Score (FAOS) and American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) questionnaire were selected to validate the app. In total, 50 participants completed the paper and app versions of the AOFAS and 50 completed the FAOS. The study’s outcomes were the correlation of the data between the paper and app versions as well as the preference of the participants between the two versions. Results: The app was approved by experts after the adaptations of the layout for mobile phones and a total of 18 questionnaires were included in the app. Moreover, the app allows the generation of PDF and Excel files with the patients’ data. In regards to validity, the mean of the total scores of the FAOS were 91.54% (SD 8.86%) for the paper version and 91.74% (SD 9.20%) for the app. There was no statistically significant differences in the means of the total scores or the subscales (P=.11-.94). The mean total scores for the AOFAS were 93.94 (SD 8.47) for the paper version and 93.96 (SD 8.48) for the app. No statistically significant differences were found for the total scores for the AOFAS or the subscales (P>.99). The app showed excellent agreement with the paper version of the FAOS, with an ICC value of 0.98 for the total score (95% CI 0.98-0.99), which was also found for the AOFAS with the ICC for the total score of 0.99 (95% CI 0.98-0.99). For compliance, 72% (36/50) of the participants in the FAOS group and 94% (47/50) in the AOFAS group preferred the app version. Conclusions: The Physiotherapy Questionnaires app showed validity and high levels of compliance for the FAOS and AOFAS, which indicates it is not inferior to the paper version of these two questionnaires and confirms its viability and feasibility for use in clinical practice.

  • The graded activity scheme, which is one of the functionalities of the portal. Source: The Authors /; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Exploring Determinants of Patient Adherence to a Portal-Supported Oncology Rehabilitation Program: Interview and Data Log Analyses


    Background: Telemedicine applications often do not live up to their expectations and often fail once they have reached the operational phase. Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the determinants of patient adherence to a blended care rehabilitation program, which includes a Web portal, from a patient’s perspective. Methods: Patients were enrolled in a 12-week oncology rehabilitation treatment supported by a Web portal that was developed in cooperation with patients and care professionals. Semistructured interviews were used to analyze thought processes and behavior concerning patient adherence and portal use. Interviews were conducted with patients close to the start and the end of the treatment. Besides, usage data from the portal were analyzed to gain insights into actual usage of the portal. Results: A total of 12 patients participated in the first interview, whereas 10 participated in the second round of interviews. Furthermore, portal usage of 31 patients was monitored. On average, 11 persons used the portal each week, with a maximum of 20 in the seventh week and a drop toward just one person in the weeks in the follow-up period of the treatment. From the interviews, it was derived that patients’ behavior in the treatment and use of the portal was primarily determined by extrinsic motivation cues (eg, stimulation by care professionals and patient group), perceived severity of the disease (eg, physical and mental condition), perceived ease of use (eg, accessibility of the portal and the ease with which information is found), and perceived usefulness (eg, fit with the treatment). Conclusions: The results emphasized the impact that care professionals and fellow patients have on patient adherence and portal usage. For this reason, the success of blended care telemedicine interventions seems highly dependent on the willingness of care professionals to include the technology in their treatment and stimulate usage among patients.

  • An exercise instruction video from the Kaia app (montage). Source: The Authors /; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Treatment of Low Back Pain with a Digital Multidisciplinary Pain Treatment App: Short-Term Results


    Background: Even though modern concepts of disease management of unspecific low back pain (LBP) postulate active participation of patients, this strategy is difficult to adapt unless multidisciplinary pain therapy is applied. Recently, mobile health solutions have proven to be effective aides to foster self-management of many diseases. Objective: The objective of this paper was to report on the retrospective short-term results of a digital multidisciplinary pain app for the treatment of LBP. Methods: Kaia is a mobile app that digitalizes multidisciplinary pain treatment and is in the market as a medical product class I. For the current study, the data of anonymized Kaia users was retrospectively analyzed. User data were evaluated for 12 weeks regarding duration of use and effect on in-app user reported pain levels, using the numerical rating scale (NRS), depending on whether LBP was classified as acute, subacute, or chronic back pain according to current guidelines. Results: Data of 180 users were available. The mean age of the users was 33.9 years (SD 10.9). Pain levels decreased from baseline NRS 4.8 to 3.75 for all users at the end of the observation period. Users who completed 4, 8, or 12 weeks showed an even more pronounced decrease in pain level NRS (baseline 4.9 [SD 1.7] versus 3.6 [SD 1.5] at 4 weeks; baseline 4.7 [SD 1.8] versus 3.2 [SD [2.0] at 8 weeks; baseline 4.6 [SD 2.2] versus 2.6 [SD 2.0] at 12 weeks). In addition, subgroup analysis of acute, subacute, or chronic classification revealed no significant main effect of group (P>.30) on the reduction of pain. Conclusions: This retrospective study showed that in a pre-selected population of app users, an app digitalizing multidisciplinary rehabilitation for the self-management of LBP reduced user-reported pain levels significantly. The observed effect size was clinically relevant. Ongoing prospective randomized controlled trials (RCTs) will adjust for potential bias and selection effects. Conclusions: This retrospective study showed that in a pre-selected population of app users, an app digitalizing multidisciplinary rehabilitation for the self-management of LBP reduced user-reported pain levels significantly. The observed effect size was clinically relevant. Ongoing prospective RCTs will adjust for potential bias and selection effects.

  • Caregiver reviews a report of their child's current participation in activities on a personal computer. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: Mary Alunkal Khetani; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Caregiver Input to Optimize the Design of a Pediatric Care Planning Guide for Rehabilitation: Descriptive Study


    Background: Participation and Environment Measure Plus (PEM+) is a guide that is compatible with the YC-PEM and may expedite care plan development and strengthen a patient’s engagement in discussions and decisions about their values, needs, and desires that shape meaningful care (ie, patient-centered care). Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of a stepwise process for building on a baseline assessment of young children's participation in activities to develop a care plan relevant to pediatric rehabilitation. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study design was employed using qualitative methods. Data were collected via Web-based technology and by telephone. Twenty-five caregivers of young children (9 with developmental delays, 16 without delays) and between 1 and 7 years were recruited from a subsample of parents who had previously enrolled in a Web-based validation of a PRO on children’s participation and provided consent for future contact. Each caregiver completed a demographic questionnaire and Young Children’s Participation and Environment Measure (YC-PEM) online, followed by a 20- to 60-min semistructured and audiotaped phone interview to review and build upon PRO results as summarized in an electronic report. Interview data were content coded to the interview guide and reviewed by multiple research staff to estimate feasibility according to stepwise completion rates, perceptions of difficulty in step completion, and perceptions of overall utility. Results: Half of the participants in the final study sample (N=25) fully completed a stepwise process of building on their baseline PRO assessment to develop an initial care plan for their child. In most cases, similar stepwise completion rates and trends in the approaches taken for step completion were found regardless of the child’s disability status. However, more parents of children with disabilities reported difficulties in rank ordering their priorities for change and identified child-focused strategies for goal attainment. Nearly 77% (19/25) of users were willing to use the process to develop and communicate intervention priorities and strategies with professionals, family, and friends. Conclusions: Results informed revisions to the care planning guide before usability and feasibility testing of an initial Web-based prototype that is now underway.

  • App in use (montage). Source: The Authors /; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Mobile App to Streamline the Development of Wearable Sensor-Based Exercise Biofeedback Systems: System Development and Evaluation


    Background: Biofeedback systems that use inertial measurement units (IMUs) have been shown recently to have the ability to objectively assess exercise technique. However, there are a number of challenges in developing such systems; vast amounts of IMU exercise datasets must be collected and manually labeled for each exercise variation, and naturally occurring technique deviations may not be well detected. One method of combatting these issues is through the development of personalized exercise technique classifiers. Objective: We aimed to create a tablet app for physiotherapists and personal trainers that would automate the development of personalized multiple and single IMU-based exercise biofeedback systems for their clients. We also sought to complete a preliminary investigation of the accuracy of such individualized systems in a real-world evaluation. Methods: A tablet app was developed that automates the key steps in exercise technique classifier creation through synchronizing video and IMU data collection, automatic signal processing, data segmentation, data labeling of segmented videos by an exercise professional, automatic feature computation, and classifier creation. Using a personalized single IMU-based classification system, 15 volunteers (12 males, 3 females, age: 23.8 [standard deviation, SD 1.8] years, height: 1.79 [SD 0.07] m, body mass: 78.4 [SD 9.6] kg) then completed 4 lower limb compound exercises. The real-world accuracy of the systems was evaluated. Results: The tablet app successfully automated the process of creating individualized exercise biofeedback systems. The personalized systems achieved 89.50% (1074/1200) accuracy, with 90.00% (540/600) sensitivity and 89.00% (534/600) specificity for assessing aberrant and acceptable technique with a single IMU positioned on the left thigh. Conclusions: A tablet app was developed that automates the process required to create a personalized exercise technique classification system. This tool can be applied to any cyclical, repetitive exercise. The personalized classification model displayed excellent system accuracy even when assessing acute deviations in compound exercises with a single IMU.

  • Diagram depicting increasing specificity of activity recognition models in terms of what groups of individuals (able-bodied or individuals with disabilities/patients) they are trained on. Patients are depicted using their control (black) or novel (red) assistive device. Each model is used to predict activities for the patient of interest (Test), walking with the novel assistive device. The top 3 layers of the pyramid contain global models, which are trained on individuals other than the one used to test the model. The 2 bottom layers of the pyramid contain personal models, which are trained and tested with data from the same individual. Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Activity Recognition in Individuals Walking With Assistive Devices: The Benefits of Device-Specific Models


    Background: Wearable sensors gather data that machine-learning models can convert into an identification of physical activities, a clinically relevant outcome measure. However, when individuals with disabilities upgrade to a new walking assistive device, their gait patterns can change, which could affect the accuracy of activity recognition. Objective: The objective of this study was to assess whether we need to train an activity recognition model with labeled data from activities performed with the new assistive device, rather than data from the original device or from healthy individuals. Methods: Data were collected from 11 healthy controls as well as from 11 age-matched individuals with disabilities who used a standard stance control knee-ankle-foot orthosis (KAFO), and then a computer-controlled adaptive KAFO (Ottobock C-Brace). All subjects performed a structured set of functional activities while wearing an accelerometer on their waist, and random forest classifiers were used as activity classification models. We examined both global models, which are trained on other subjects (healthy or disabled individuals), and personal models, which are trained and tested on the same subject. Results: Median accuracies of global and personal models trained with data from the new KAFO were significantly higher (61% and 76%, respectively) than those of models that use data from the original KAFO (55% and 66%, respectively) (Wilcoxon signed-rank test, P=.006 and P=.01). These models also massively outperformed a global model trained on healthy subjects, which only achieved a median accuracy of 53%. Device-specific models conferred a major advantage for activity recognition. Conclusions: Our results suggest that when patients use a new assistive device, labeled data from activities performed with the specific device are needed for maximal precision activity recognition. Personal device-specific models yield the highest accuracy in such scenarios, whereas models trained on healthy individuals perform poorly and should not be used in patient populations.

  • Telemedicine consult. Source: Flickr; Copyright: Intel Free Press; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA).

    Telerehabilitation: Review of the State-of-the-Art and Areas of Application


    Background: Telemedicine applications have been increasing due to the development of new computer science technologies and of more advanced telemedical devices. Various types of telerehabilitation treatments and their relative intensities and duration have been reported. Objective: The objective of this review is to provide a detailed overview of the rehabilitation techniques for remote sites (telerehabilitation) and their fields of application, with analysis of the benefits and the drawbacks related to use. We discuss future applications of telerehabilitation techniques with an emphasis on the development of high-tech devices, and on which new tools and applications can be used in the future. Methods: We retrieved relevant information and data on telerehabilitation from books, articles and online materials using the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) “telerehabilitation,” “telemedicine,” and “rehabilitation,” as well as “disabling pathologies.” Results: Telerehabilitation can be considered as a branch of telemedicine. Although this field is considerably new, its use has rapidly grown in developed countries. In general, telerehabilitation reduces the costs of both health care providers and patients compared with traditional inpatient or person-to-person rehabilitation. Furthermore, patients who live in remote places, where traditional rehabilitation services may not be easily accessible, can benefit from this technology. However, certain disadvantages of telerehabilitation, including skepticism on the part of patients due to remote interaction with their physicians or rehabilitators, should not be underestimated. Conclusions: This review evaluated different application fields of telerehabilitation, highlighting its benefits and drawbacks. This study may be a starting point for improving approaches and devices for telerehabilitation. In this context, patients’ feedback may be important to adapt rehabilitation techniques and approaches to their needs, which would subsequently help to improve the quality of rehabilitation in the future. The need for proper training and education of people involved in this new and emerging form of intervention for more effective treatment can’t be overstated.

  • Training mode app. Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Mobile Phone–Supported Physiotherapy for Frozen Shoulder: Feasibility Assessment Based on a Usability Study


    Background: Patients with frozen shoulder show limited shoulder mobility often accompanied by pain. Common treatment methods include physiotherapy, pain medication, administration of corticosteroids, and surgical capsulotomy. Frozen shoulder often lasts from months to years and mostly affects persons in the age group of 40 to 70 years. It severely reduces the quality of life and the ability to work. Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a mobile health (mHealth) intervention that supports patients affected by “stage two” frozen shoulder. Patients were supported with app-based exercise instructions and tools to monitor their training compliance and progress. These training compliance and progress data supplement the patients’ oral reports to the physiotherapists and physicians and can assist them in therapy adjustment. Methods: In order to assess the feasibility of the mHealth intervention, a pilot study of a newly developed app for frozen shoulder patients was conducted with 5 patients for 3 weeks. The main function of the app was the instruction for exercising at home. Standardized questionnaires on usability such as System Usability Scale (SUS) and USE (Usefulness, Satisfaction, and Ease of use), and Technology Acceptance Model-2 (TAM-2) were completed by the study participants at the end of the study. Additionally, a nonstandardized questionnaire was completed by all patients. The correctness of the exercises as conducted by the patients was assessed by a physiotherapist at the end of the study. The mobility of the shoulder and pain in shoulder movement was assessed by a physiotherapist at the start and the end of the study. Results: The pilot study was successfully conducted, and the app was evaluated by the patients after 3 weeks. The results of the standardized questionnaires showed high acceptance (TAM-2) and high usability (SUS) of the developed app. The overall usability of the system as assessed by the SUS questionnaire was very good (an average score of 88 out of 100). The average score of the TAM-2 questionnaire on the intention to further use the app was 4.2 out of 5, which indicated that most patients would use the app if further available. The results of the USE questionnaires highlighted that the patients learned how to use the app easily (an average score of 4.2 out of 5) and were satisfied with the app (an average score of 4.7 out of 5). The frequency of app usage and training was very high based on patient reports and verified by analysis of the usage data. The patients conducted the exercises almost flawlessly. Conclusions: Our results indicate the feasibility of the mHealth intervention, as the app was easy to use and frequently used by the patients. The app supported the patients’ physiotherapy by providing clear exercising instructions.

  • Detect grasping action using force myographic signal. Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Counting Grasping Action Using Force Myography: An Exploratory Study With Healthy Individuals


    Background: Functional arm movements generally require grasping an object. The possibility of detecting and counting the action of grasping is believed to be of importance for individual with motor function deficits of the arm, as it could be an indication of the number of the functional arm movements performed by the individuals during rehabilitation. In this exploratory work, the feasibility of using armbands recording radial displacements of forearm muscles and tendons (ie, force myography, FMG) to estimate hand grasping with healthy individuals was investigated. In contrast to previous studies, this exploratory study investigates the feasibility of (1) detecting grasping when the participants move their arms, which could introduce large artifacts to the point of potentially preventing the practical use of the proposed technology, and (2) counting grasping during arm-reaching tasks. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the usefulness of FMG in the detection of functional arm movements. The use of FMG straps placed on the forearm is proposed for counting the number of grasping actions in the presence of arm movements. Methods: Ten healthy volunteers participated in this study to perform a pick-and-place exercise after providing informed consent. FMG signals were simultaneously collected using 2 FMG straps worn on their wrist and at the midposition of their forearm, respectively. Raw FMG signals and 3 additional FMG features (ie, root mean square, wavelength, and window symmetry) were extracted and fed into a linear discriminant analysis classifier to predict grasping states. The transition from nongrasping to grasping states was detected during the process of counting the number of grasping actions. Results: The median accuracy for detecting grasping events using FMG recorded from the wrist was 95%, and the corresponding interquartile range (IQR) was 5%. For forearm FMG classification, the median accuracy was 92%, and the corresponding IQR was 3%. The difference between the 2 median accuracies was statistically significant (P<.001) when using a paired 2-tailed sign test. The median percentage error for counting grasping events when FMG was recorded from the wrist was 1%, and the corresponding IQR was 2%. The median percentage error for FMG recorded from the forearm was 2%, and the corresponding IQR was also 2%. While the median percentage error for the wrist was lower than that of the forearm, the difference between the 2 was not statistically significant based on a paired 2-tailed sign test (P=.29). Conclusions: This study reports that grasping can reliably be counted using an unobtrusive and simple FMG strap even in the presence of arm movements. Such a result supports the foundation for future research evaluating the feasibility of monitoring hand grasping during unsupervised ADL, leading to further investigations with individuals with motor function deficits of the arm.

  • The Hinge Health kit: a tablet computer preloaded with the Hinge Health software, and two custom-made movement sensors to guide participants through their exercises. Source: Image created by the authors.; Copyright: The authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA).

    Translating Comprehensive Conservative Care for Chronic Knee Pain Into a Digital Care Pathway: 12-Week and 6-Month Outcomes for the Hinge Health Program


    Background: Chronic knee pain (CKP) affects a large number of adults, many of whom do not receive best-practice care and are at high risk for unnecessary surgery. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the Hinge Health 12-week digital care program (DCP) for CKP on knee pain and function, with secondary outcomes of surgery interest and satisfaction, at 12 weeks and 6 months after starting the program. Methods: Individuals with CKP were recruited onto the 12-week program, comprising sensor-guided physical exercises, weekly education, activity tracking, and psychosocial support such as personal coaching and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). We used a single-arm design with assessment of outcomes at baseline, 12 weeks, and 6 months after starting the program. We used a linear mixed effects model with Tukey contrasts to compare timepoints and report intention-to-treat statistics with last observation carried forward. Results: The cohort consisted of 41 individuals (32 female, mean age 52 years, SD 9 years). Between baseline and week 12, participants reported clinically significant improvements in the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) pain and Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score-Physical Function Short Form (KOOS-PS) function scales of 16 points (95% CI 12-21, P<.001) and 10 points (95% CI 6-14, P<.001), respectively. Significant reductions of 57% (mean difference 30, 95% CI 21-38, P<.001) and 51% (mean difference 25, 95% CI 16-33, P<.001) in visual analog scale (VAS) knee pain and stiffness, respectively, were observed at 12 weeks, as well as a 67% reduction in surgery interest (mean reduction 2.3 out of 10, 95% CI 1.5-3.1, P<.001). Average satisfaction at week 12 was 9.2 out of 10. Critically, all improvements were maintained at 6 months at similar or greater magnitude. Conclusions: Participants on the Hinge Health DCP for CKP showed substantial clinical improvements that were maintained 6 months after enrolling in the program. This shows that DCPs carry strong potential to deliver evidence-based, cost-effective care to those suffering from CKP.

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    Date Submitted: Mar 15, 2018

    Open Peer Review Period: Mar 16, 2018 - May 11, 2018

    Background: Demographic change represents enormous burdens for the care sectors resulting in high proportions of (older) people in need of care and a lack of care staff. Ambient Assisted Living (AAL)...

    Background: Demographic change represents enormous burdens for the care sectors resulting in high proportions of (older) people in need of care and a lack of care staff. Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) technologies have the potential to support the bottlenecks in care supply, but are not yet in widespread use in professional care contexts. Objective: The study aims for investigating professional caregivers' AAL technology acceptance, their perception of specific technologies, data handling, perceived benefits, and barriers. In particular, the study focuses on perspectives on AAL technologies differing between care professionals working in diverse care contexts in order to examine to what extent the care context influences the acceptance of assistive technologies. Methods: An scenario-based online questionnaire (n = 170) was carried out focusing on professional care givers in medical, geriatric, and care of disabled people. The participants were asked for their perceptions concerning specific technologies, specific types of gathered data, potential benefits, and barriers of AAL technology usage. Results: The care context significantly impacted the evaluations of AAL technologies (F(14,220) = 2.514; P = .002). Professional caregivers of disabled people had a significantly more critical attitude towards AAL technologies than medical and geriatric caregivers: indicated by a) being the only caregiver group with rejecting evaluations of AAL technology acceptance (F(2,118) = 4.570; P = .01) and specific technologies (F(2,118) = 11.727; P = .000) applied for gathering data and b) by the comparatively lowest agreements referring to the evaluations of data types (F(2,118) = 4.073; P = .02) which are allowed to be gathered. Conclusions: AAL technology acceptance is seen critical out of technology implementation reasons, especially in the care of people with disabilities. AAL technologies in care contexts have to be tailored to care professional's needs and concerns ("care about us"). The results contribute to a broader understanding of professional caregivers needs referring to specific data and technology configurations and encloses major differences concerning diverse care contexts. Integrating these findings into user group-tailored technology concepts and communication strategies will support a sustainable adoption of AAL systems in professional care contexts.

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    Date Submitted: Mar 5, 2018

    Open Peer Review Period: Mar 6, 2018 - May 1, 2018

    Background: Motivating interactive tools may increase adherence to repetitive practice for children with disabilities, but many virtual reality and active video gaming systems are too challenging for...

    Background: Motivating interactive tools may increase adherence to repetitive practice for children with disabilities, but many virtual reality and active video gaming systems are too challenging for children with significant needs. Objective: We developed the Fun, Interactive Therapy Board (FITBoard), a movement toy bridging digital and physical interactions, and evaluated its usability among physical (PTs) and occupational therapists (OTs) at two clinical sites. Methods: The FITBoard is a tablet application involving games controlled by hand, head or foot touch of configurable, wired surfaces. Usability evaluation involved a Cognitive Walkthrough and Think Aloud process in which participants verbalized aloud while completing a series of 26 task actions involved in selecting a game and configuring the FITBoard to achieve the therapeutic goal. Therapists then responded to questions about usability perceptions. Unsuccessful actions were categorized as goal or action failures. Conventional qualitative content analysis supported understanding of usability problems. Results: Five PTs and 2 OTs participated. Goal failure was experienced by all participants in 2 tasks and action failure was experienced by all participants in 2 tasks, with 14 additional tasks experiencing goal or action failure by > 1 participant, for an overall failure rate of 65.4%. Content analysis revealed 4 main categories: hardware usability, software usability, facilitators of therapy goals, and improvement suggestions. Conclusions: FITBoard hardware and software changes are needed to address goal and action failures to rectify identified usability issues. Subsequent research will evaluate therapist, parent and child perspectives on FITBoard clinical utility when integrated within regular therapy interventions.

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    Date Submitted: Feb 6, 2018

    Open Peer Review Period: Feb 8, 2018 - Apr 5, 2018

    Background: Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread muscular tenderness, pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties. Nonpharmacological treatment options, such as physical activi...

    Background: Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread muscular tenderness, pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties. Nonpharmacological treatment options, such as physical activity, are important for people with fibromyalgia. There are strong recommendations to support engagement in physical activity for symptom management among adults with fibromyalgia. Dance is a mode of physical activity that may allow individuals with fibromyalgia to improve their physical function, health, and well-being. Dance has the potential to promote improved pain processing while simultaneously providing the health and social benefits of engaging in physical activity that contributes to symptom management and overall function rehabilitation. However, we are unaware of current evidence on dance as a nonpharmacological/physical activity intervention for adults with fibromyalgia. Objective: The aims of the study were to understand how dance is used therapeutically by individuals with fibromyalgia; to examine the extent, range and nature of research activity in the area; and to determine the value of undertaking a full systematic review. Methods: We used and adapted the Arksey and O’Malley scoping framework. The search strategy involved a comprehensive search of main health and social electronic databases, trial registries and grey literature without language limits. Pairs of reviewers independently screened and extracted data and evaluated the methodological quality of randomized control trials. Results: Twenty-one unique records for 13 studies met inclusion criteria; the studies included middle aged women. Types of dance included were aerobic dance, belly dance, dance movement therapy, biodanza and Zumba. Intervention parameters were different among studies. Frequency varied between once to three times a week; all were done in small group settings. Studies evaluated a variety of outcomes in the symptoms, wellness, psychosocial, physical functioning, balance and fitness categories; no studies evaluated safety or adverse events systematically which is a major weakness of the literature. Conclusions: There are few studies in the field of dance and fibromyalgia, suggesting research is in its infancy but slowly growing. The studies were of European and South American origin, focusing on female participants and a limited number of dance modes. Because the body of literature is small, of low quality and highly heterogeneous, we concluded that a systematic review of interventions on dance is not warranted at this time. Clinical Trial: Review protocol: Bidonde J, JMIR Res Protoc 2017;6(2):e25 DOI: 10.2196/resprot.6873 PMID: 28228371 PMCID: 5343215