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

Editor-in-Chief:

Gunther Eysenbach, MD, MPH, FACMI


JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies is a PubMed-indexed journal that focuses on the development and evaluation of rehabilitation and assistive technologies, including assistive living.

As an open access journal, JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies is read by both clinicians and patients. The journal fosuses on readable and applied science that reports the design and evaluation of health innovations and emerging technologies. It publishes original research, viewpoints, and reviews (both literature reviews and medical device/technology/app reviews). Articles are carefully copyedited and XML-tagged, ready for submission to PubMed Central.

Recent Articles

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Portable and Mobile Technologies for Rehabilitation

Physical activity is beneficial for cardiovascular rehabilitation. Digitalization suggests using technology in the promotion of physical activity and lifestyle changes. The effectiveness of distance technology interventions has previously been found to be similar to that of conventional treatment, but the added value of the technology has not been frequently studied.

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Emerging Technologies for Rehabilitation

The design of digital technologies that support poststroke rehabilitation at home has been a topic of research for some time. If technology is to have a large-scale impact on rehabilitation practice, then we need to understand how to create technologies that are appropriate for the domestic environment and for the needs and motivations of those living there. This paper reflects on the research conducted in the Motivating Mobility project (UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council: EP/F00382X/1). We conducted sensitizing studies to develop a foundational understanding of the homes of stroke survivors, participatory design sessions situated in the home, and experimental deployments of prototype rehabilitation technologies. We identified four challenges specific to the homes of stroke survivors and relevant to the deployment of rehabilitation technologies: identifying a location for rehabilitation technology, negotiating social relationships present in the home, avoiding additional stress in households at risk of existential stress, and providing for patient safety. We conclude that skilled workers may be needed to enable successful technology deployment, systematizing the mapping of the home may be beneficial, and education is a viable focus for rehabilitation technologies.

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Augmentative and Alternative Communication

People with intellectual disabilities (IDs) face significant communication barriers when accessing health care services; they find it difficult to identify and describe conditions clearly enough to support practitioners in making an accurate diagnosis. In addition, medical professionals generally have little knowledge and understanding of the needs of people with ID, which may result in the use of consultation techniques that do not cater to their patients’ skills.

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Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation

People with spinal cord injury (SCI) are less likely to be physically active and have higher chronic disease risk than those in the general population due to physical and metabolic changes that occur postinjury. Few studies have investigated approaches to promote increased physical activity (PA) for people with SCI despite evidence that they face unique barriers, including lack of accessible transportation and exercise equipment. To address these obstacles, we adapted an evidence-based phone-delivered intervention that promoted increased PA among people with SCI into a web-based platform, titled the Workout on Wheels internet intervention (WOWii). The adapted program provides participants with weekly skill-building information and activities, basic exercise equipment, and ongoing support through weekly group videoconferencing.

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Portable and Mobile Technologies for Rehabilitation

Children with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) or severe motor and intellectual disabilities (SMID) only communicate through movements, vocalizations, body postures, muscle tensions, or facial expressions on a pre- or protosymbolic level. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, there are few systems developed to specifically aid in categorizing and interpreting behaviors of children with PIMD or SMID to facilitate independent communication and mobility. Further, environmental data such as weather variables were found to have associations with human affects and behaviors among typically developing children; however, studies involving children with neurological functioning impairments that affect communication or those who have physical and/or motor disabilities are unexpectedly scarce.

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Emerging Technologies for Rehabilitation

Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death worldwide and result in significant economic costs to health care systems. The prevalence of cardiovascular conditions that require monitoring is expected to increase as the average age of the global population continues to rise. Although an accurate cardiac assessment can be performed at medical centers, frequent visits for assessment are not feasible for most people, especially those with limited mobility. Monitoring of vital signs at home is becoming an increasingly desirable, accessible, and practical alternative. As wearable devices are not the ideal solution for everyone, it is necessary to develop parallel and complementary approaches.

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Emerging Technologies for Rehabilitation

Children with motor impairments affecting the upper extremity benefit from task-specific therapy, such as constraint-induced movement therapy. However, there is a need to improve engagement and compliance with task-specific exercise programs that target manual dexterity for children with cerebral palsy (CP). A computer game–based rehabilitation (GRP) platform was developed that combines fine manipulation and gross movement exercises with engaging game activities appropriate for young children with CP.

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Emerging Technologies for Rehabilitation

Early rehabilitative mobilization for adolescents is safe and feasible. However, there is a lack of published rehabilitation strategies and treatments that can maximize engagement and outcomes among adolescents in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Virtual reality (VR) gaming using a head-mounted display (HMD) and adaptive software can allow active and nonactive gameplay at the bedside for people with limited arm mobility, making it a potentially inclusive and enjoyable treatment modality for adolescents in the PICU.

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Reviews on Innovation in Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies

Globally, 1 in 3 adults live with multiple chronic conditions. Thus, effective interventions are needed to prevent and manage these chronic conditions and to reduce the associated health care costs. Teaching effective self-management practices to people with chronic diseases is one strategy to address the burden of chronic conditions. With the increasing availability of and access to the internet, the implementation of web-based peer support programs has become increasingly common.

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Cognitive and Neurorehabilitation

Canadian Armed Forces service members (CAF-SMs) and veterans exhibit higher rates of injuries and illnesses, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury, which can cause and exacerbate cognitive dysfunction. Computerized neurocognitive assessment tools have demonstrated increased reliability and efficiency compared with traditional cognitive assessment tools. Without assessing the degree of technology acceptance and perceptions of usability to end users, it is difficult to determine whether a technology-based assessment will be used successfully in wider clinical practice. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology model is commonly used to address the technology acceptance and usability of applications in five domains.

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Assistive Technologies

Home adaptation processes enhancing occupational engagement rely on identifying environmental barriers, generally during time-consuming home visits performed by occupational therapists (OTs). Relevance of a 3D model to the OT’s work has been attested, but a convenient and consumer-available technology to map the home environment in 3D is currently lacking. For instance, such a technology would support the exploration of home adaptations for a person with disability, with or without an OT visit.

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Innovations in Exercise Rehabilitation

Recently, movement-based videogames (exergames) have gained popularity in improving the rehabilitation process after surgery. During exergaming, participants are physically challenged as the game component stimulates adherence to the training program. There is no literature on the effect of exergame training interventions in patients who received arthroscopic ankle arthrodesis.

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