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Journal Description

JMIR Rehab is a PubMed-indexed sister journal of the Journal of Medical Internet Research (Impact Factor 2017: 4.671), focusing on development and evaluation of rehabilitation and assistive technologies, including assistive living.

As an open access journal, we are read by clinicians and patients alike and have (as all JMIR journals) a focus on readable and applied science reporting the design and evaluation of health innovations and emerging technologies. We publish original research, viewpoints, and reviews (both literature reviews and medical device/technology/app reviews). Articles are carefully copyedited and XML-tagged, ready for submission in PubMed Central.

 

Recent Articles:

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit.net; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL: http://rehab.jmir.org/2018/2/e13/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Users’ Perspectives, Opportunities, and Barriers of the Strengthen Your Ankle App for Evidence-Based Ankle Sprain Prevention: Mixed-Methods Process...

    Abstract:

    Background: The “Strengthen Your Ankle” neuromuscular training program has been thoroughly studied over the past 8 years. This process evaluation is a part of a randomized controlled trial that examined both the short- and long-term effectiveness of this particular program. Although it was shown previously that the program, available both in a printed booklet and as a mobile app, is able to effectively reduce the number of recurrent ankle sprains, participants’ compliance with the program is an ongoing challenge. Objective: This process evaluation explored participants’ opinions regarding both the methods of delivery, using RE-AIM (Reach Effectiveness Adoption Implementation Maintenance) Framework to identify barriers and challenges to program compliance. Although Reach, Effectiveness, and Adaptation were the focus of a previous study, this paper focuses on the implementation and maintenance phases. Methods: Semistructured interviews and online questionnaires were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Fisher exact, chi-square, and t tests assessed between-group differences in quantitative survey responses. Interviews were assessed by thematic analysis to identify key themes. Results: While there were no significant differences in the perceived simplicity, usefulness, and liking of the exercise during the 8 weeks of the neuromuscular training program, semistructured interviews showed that 14 of 16 participants agreed that an app would be of additional benefits over a booklet. After the 12-month follow-up, when asked how they evaluated the overall use of the app or the booklet, the users of the app gave a mean score of 7.7 (SD 0.99) versus a mean score 7.1 (SD 1.23) for the users of the booklet. This difference in mean score was significant (P=.006). Conclusions: Although both the app and booklet showed a high user satisfaction, the users of the app were significantly more satisfied. Semistructured questionnaires allowed users to address issues they would like to improve in future updates. Including a possibility for feedback and postponement of exercises, an explanation of the use of specific exercises and possibly music were identified as features that might further improve the contentment of the program, probably leading to increased compliance. Trial Registration: Netherlands Trial Register NTR4027; http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=4027 (Archived by Webcite at http://www.webcitation.org/70MTo9dMV)

  • Control of an Ambulatory Exoskeleton with a Brain-Machine Interface for Spinal Cord Injury. Source: Wikipedia Commons; Copyright: López-Larraz E, Trincado-Alonso F, Rajasekaran V, Pérez-Nombela S, del-Ama A, Aranda J, Minguez J, Gil-Agudo A, Montesano L; URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Control-of-an-Ambulatory-Exoskeleton-with-a-Brain%E2%80%93Machine-Interface-for-Spinal-Cord-Injury-Gait-Video1.ogv; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Perceptions of Existing Wearable Robotic Devices for Upper Extremity and Suggestions for Their Development: Findings From Therapists and People With Stroke

    Abstract:

    Background: Advances in wearable robotic technologies have increased the potential of these devices for rehabilitation and as assistive devices. However, the utilization of these devices is still limited and there are questions regarding how well these devices address users’ (therapists and patients) needs. Objective: The aims of this study were to (1) describe users’ perceptions about existing wearable robotic devices for the upper extremity; (2) identify if there is a need to develop new devices for the upper extremity and the desired features; and (3) explore obstacles that would influence the utilization of these new devices. Methods: Focus groups were held to collect data. Data were analyzed thematically. Results: A total of 16 participants took part in the focus group discussions. Our analysis identified three main themes: (1) “They exist, but...” described participants’ perceptions about existing devices for upper extremity; (2) “Indeed, we need more, can we have it all?” reflected participants’ desire to have new devices for the upper extremity and revealed heterogeneity among different participants; and (3) “Bumps on the road” identified challenges that the participants felt needed to be taken into consideration during the development of these devices. Conclusions: This study resonates with previous research that has highlighted the importance of involving end users in the design process. The study suggests that having a single solution for stroke rehabilitation or assistance could be challenging or even impossible, and thus, engineers should clearly identify the targeted stroke population needs before the design of any device for the upper extremity.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: nikitabuida; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/dance-class-for-women_1285528.htm; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Scoping Review of Dance for Adults With Fibromyalgia: What Do We Know About It?

    Abstract:

    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 this 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 systematic review of interventions. Methods: We used and adapted the Arksey and O’Malley scoping framework. The search strategy involved a comprehensive search of main health and electronic social 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 mostly 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 one 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 the 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. They are 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.

  • Nancy Henckle of Delaware, OH undergoes rehabilitation for a stroke by playing a video game developed at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Developers say this is one of the first games for rehab to use design input from therapists and patients. Early tests showed that patients logged an average of more than 1,500 movements per hour while playing the game, helping them to become more functional and flexible. Source: Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center; Copyright: OSUWMC; URL: http://osuwmc.multimedianewsroom.tv/story.php?id=710&enter=; License: Fair use/fair dealings.

    Person-Generated Health Data in Simulated Rehabilitation Using Kinect for Stroke: Literature Review

    Abstract:

    Background: Person- or patient-generated health data (PGHD) are health, wellness, and clinical data that people generate, record, and analyze for themselves. There is potential for PGHD to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of simulated rehabilitation technologies for stroke. Simulated rehabilitation is a type of telerehabilitation that uses computer technologies and interfaces to allow the real-time simulation of rehabilitation activities or a rehabilitation environment. A leading technology for simulated rehabilitation is Microsoft’s Kinect, a video-based technology that uses infrared to track a user’s body movements. Objective: This review attempts to understand to what extent Kinect-based stroke rehabilitation systems (K-SRS) have used PGHD and to what benefit. Methods: The review is conducted in two parts. In part 1, aspects of relevance for PGHD were searched for in existing systematic reviews on K-SRS. The following databases were searched: IEEE Xplore, Association of Computing Machinery Digital Library, PubMed, Biomed Central, Cochrane Library, and Campbell Collaboration. In part 2, original research papers that presented or used K-SRS were reviewed in terms of (1) types of PGHD, (2) patient access to PGHD, (3) PGHD use, and (4) effects of PGHD use. The search was conducted in the same databases as part 1 except Cochrane and Campbell Collaboration. Reference lists on K-SRS of the reviews found in part 1 were also included in the search for part 2. There was no date restriction. The search was closed in June 2017. The quality of the papers was not assessed, as it was not deemed critical to understanding PGHD access and use in studies that used K-SRS. Results: In part 1, 192 papers were identified, and after assessment only 3 papers were included. Part 1 showed that previous reviews focused on technical effectiveness of K-SRS with some attention on clinical effectiveness. None of those reviews reported on home-based implementation or PGHD use. In part 2, 163 papers were identified and after assessment, 41 papers were included. Part 2 showed that there is a gap in understanding how PGHD use may affect patients using K-SRS and a lack of patient participation in the design of such systems. Conclusions: This paper calls specifically for further studies of K-SRS—and for studies of technologies that allow patients to generate their own health data in general—to pay more attention to how patients’ own use of their data may influence their care processes and outcomes. Future studies that trial the effectiveness of K-SRS outside the clinic should also explore how patients and carers use PGHD in home rehabilitation programs.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: Freepik; URL: https://www.freepik.com/index.php?goto=74&idfoto=1965306&term=old%20exercise; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Exercise Therapy Interventions in Patients With Hip Osteoarthritis: Comparison of the Effects of DVD and Website-Based Interventions

    Abstract:

    Background: Prevalence of developmental hip dysplasia is high in Japan. Exercise therapy has been proven effective to treat certain aspects of hip osteoarthritis. Moreover, therapy provided via digital video discs (DVDs) and websites allows patients to exercise in the comfort of their own homes. However, no studies have evaluated the effectiveness of visual instructions in patients with hip disorders. Objective: This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of exercise therapy administered via DVD and that administered via a website. Methods: We developed a six-step progressive exercise therapy program for patients with hip osteoarthritis, which included three kinds each of open kinetic chain and closed kinetic chain exercises. Once the program was developed, exercise DVDs were produced. In addition to the six-step exercise program, our website was enabled to count the number of exercises performed by each patient and was accessible via the Internet at any time. Patients with hip osteoarthritis for whom surgery was not advised were enrolled by one university hospital in the Kansai area in Japan. Clinical symptoms and hip function were quantified using the Japanese Orthopedic Association Hip Disease Evaluation Questionnaire (JHEQ) and the Oxford Hip Score (OHS). Quality of life was measured using the SF-8 Health Survey, and self-efficacy for continued exercise was measured using the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES). Questionnaires were completed preintervention and after 6 months. Results: At 6-month follow-up, 10 DVD users (1 male, 9 female; mean age 51.3, SD 16.1 years) and 18 website users (2 male, 16 female; mean age 52.4, SD 10.4 years) were reachable. The change in each parameter could not be confirmed a significant improvement. However, most items tended to reflect overall improvement during the 6 months of intervention (P=.05-.94; paired t test). Regarding effect size, we considered a small effect to be greater than 0.2. Little effect was observed for JHEQ pain, SF-8 physical component summary (PCS), and SF-8 mental component summary in the DVD group, as well as OHS, SF-8 (PCS), and GSES in the website group. Conclusions: When comparing the effectiveness of exercise therapy between our DVD and website, we found that although both groups tended to improve in physical function, only the website group showed tendency of enhanced self-efficacy.

  • Bespoke Padlet forum with participant and moderator posts (montage). Source: The Authors / Placeit.net; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL: http://rehab.jmir.org/2018/1/e9/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Patients Using an Online Forum for Reporting Progress When Engaging With a Six-Week Exercise Program for Knee Conditioning: Feasibility Study

    Abstract:

    Background: The use of electronic health (eHealth) and Web-based resources for patients with knee pain is expanding. Padlet is an online noticeboard that can facilitate patient interaction by posting virtual “sticky notes.” Objective: The primary aim of this study was to determine feasibility of patients in a 6-week knee exercise program using Padlet as an online forum for self-reporting on outcome progression. Methods: Undergraduate manual therapy students were recruited as part of a 6-week study into knee conditioning. Participants were encouraged to post maximum effort readings from quadriceps and gluteal home exercises captured from standard bathroom scales on a bespoke Padlet. Experience and progression reporting were encouraged. Posted data were analyzed for association between engagement, entry frequency, and participant characteristics. Individual data facilitated single-subject, multiple-baseline analysis using statistical process control. Experiential narrative was analyzed thematically. Results: Nineteen participants were recruited (47%, 9/19 female); ages ranged from 19 to 53 years. Twelve individuals (63%) opted to engage with the forum (range 4-40 entries), with five (42%) reporting across all 6 weeks. Gender did not influence reporting (odds ratio [OR] 0.76, 95% CI 0.06-6.93). No significant difference manifested between body mass index and engagement P=.46); age and entry frequency did not correlate (R2=.054, 95% CI –0.42 to 0.51, P=.83). Statistically significant conditioning profiles arose in single participants. Themes of pain, mitigation, and response were inducted from the experiences posted. Conclusions: Patients will engage with an online forum for reporting progress when undertaking exercise programs. In contrast to related literature, no significant association was found with reporting and gender, age, or body mass index. Individual posted data allowed multiple-baseline analysis and experiential induction from participants. Conditioning responses were evident on visual inspection. The importance of individualized visual data to patients and the role of forums in monitoring patients’ progress in symptomatic knee pain populations need further consideration.

  • Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://rehab.jmir.org/2018/1/e8/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    A Kinematic Sensor and Algorithm to Detect Motor Fluctuations in Parkinson Disease: Validation Study Under Real Conditions of Use

    Abstract:

    Background: A new algorithm has been developed, which combines information on gait bradykinesia and dyskinesia provided by a single kinematic sensor located on the waist of Parkinson disease (PD) patients to detect motor fluctuations (On- and Off-periods). Objective: The goal of this study was to analyze the accuracy of this algorithm under real conditions of use. Methods: This validation study of a motor-fluctuation detection algorithm was conducted on a sample of 23 patients with advanced PD. Patients were asked to wear the kinematic sensor for 1 to 3 days at home, while simultaneously keeping a diary of their On- and Off-periods. During this testing, researchers were not present, and patients continued to carry on their usual daily activities in their natural environment. The algorithm’s outputs were compared with the patients’ records, which were used as the gold standard. Results: The algorithm produced 37% more results than the patients’ records (671 vs 489). The positive predictive value of the algorithm to detect Off-periods, as compared with the patients’ records, was 92% (95% CI 87.33%-97.3%) and the negative predictive value was 94% (95% CI 90.71%-97.1%); the overall classification accuracy was 92.20%. Conclusions: The kinematic sensor and the algorithm for detection of motor-fluctuations validated in this study are an accurate and useful tool for monitoring PD patients with difficult-to-control motor fluctuations in the outpatient setting.

  • Source: Shutterstock; Copyright: Aleksandra Suzi; URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/smiling-male-doctor-holding-digital-tablet-588574085?src=oqRZrl2mmBLjFHLjdfqrtw-1-4; License: Licensed by the authors.

    The Use of Digital and Remote Communication Technologies as a Tool for Multiple Sclerosis Management: Narrative Review

    Abstract:

    Despite recent advances in multiple sclerosis (MS) care, many patients only infrequently access health care services, or are unable to access them easily, for reasons such as mobility restrictions, travel costs, consultation and treatment time constraints, and a lack of locally available MS expert services. Advances in mobile communications have led to the introduction of electronic health (eHealth) technologies, which are helping to improve both access to and the quality of health care services. As the Internet is now readily accessible through smart mobile devices, most people can take advantage of eHealth apps. The development of digital applications and remote communication technologies for patients with MS has increased rapidly in recent years. These apps are intended to complement traditional in-clinic approaches and can bring significant benefits to both patients with MS and health care providers (HCPs). For patients, such eHealth apps have been shown to improve outcomes and increase access to care, disease information, and support. These apps also help patients to participate actively in self-management, for example, by tracking adherence to treatment, changes in bladder and bowel habits, and activity and mood. For HCPs, MS eHealth solutions can simplify the multidisciplinary approaches needed to tailor MS management strategies to individual patients; facilitate remote monitoring of patient symptoms, adverse events, and outcomes; enable the efficient use of limited resources and clinic time; and potentially allow more timely intervention than is possible with scheduled face-to-face visits. These benefits are important because MS is a long-term, multifaceted chronic condition that requires ongoing monitoring, assessment, and management. We identified in the literature 28 eHealth solutions for patients with MS that fall within the four categories of screening and assessment, disease monitoring and self-management, treatment and rehabilitation, and advice and education. We review each solution, focusing on any clinical evidence supporting their use from prospective trials (including ASSESS MS, Deprexis, MSdialog, and the Multiple Sclerosis Performance Test) and consider the opportunities, barriers to adoption, and potential pitfalls of eHealth technologies in routine health care.

  • A patient consulting their health care professional because of lower back pain. Source: 59th Medical Wing; Copyright: US Air Force (Jerilyn Quintanilla); URL: http://www.59mdw.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2001632287/; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Preferences for Web-Based Information Material for Low Back Pain: Qualitative Interview Study on People Consulting a General Practitioner

    Abstract:

    Background: Information on self-management, including addressing people’s fears and concerns, are core aspects of managing patients with low back pain (LBP). Web apps with patient information may be used to extend patient-physician consultations and encourage self-management outside of the consultation room. It is, however, important to identify the end users’ needs and preferences in order to maximize acceptance. Objective: The aim of this study was to identify preferences for the content, design, and functionality of a Web app with evidence-based information and advice for people with LBP in Denmark. Methods: This is a phenomenological qualitative study. Adults who had consulted their general practitioner because of LBP within the past 14 days were included. Each participated in a semistructured interview, which was audiotaped and transcribed for text condensation. Interviews were conducted at the participant’s home by 2 interviewers. Participants also completed a questionnaire that requested information on age, gender, internet usage, interest in searching new knowledge, LBP-related function, and pain. Results: Fifteen 45-min interviews were conducted. Participants had a median age of 40 years (range 22-68 years) and reported a median disability of 7 points (range 0-18) using the 23-item Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire. Participants reported that Web-based information should be easy to find and read, easily overviewed, and not be overloaded with information. Subjects found existing Web-based information confusing, often difficult to comprehend, and not relevant for them, and they questioned the motives driving most hosting companies or organizations. The Patient Handbook, a Danish government-funded website that provides information to Danes about health, was mentioned as a trustworthy and preferred site when searching for information and advice regarding LBP. Conclusions: This study identified important issues to consider when developing and supplementing existing general practice treatment with Web-based information and advice for patients with LBP. Development of a Web app should consider patient input, and developers should carefully address the following domains: readability, customization, design, credibility, and usability.

  • Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Copyright: Department of Veterans Affairs; URL: http://news.mit.edu/2010/stroke-therapy-0419; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Evolution of Cognitive Rehabilitation After Stroke From Traditional Techniques to Smart and Personalized Home-Based Information and Communication Technology...

    Abstract:

    Background: Neurological patients after stroke usually present cognitive deficits that cause dependencies in their daily living. These deficits mainly affect the performance of some of their daily activities. For that reason, stroke patients need long-term processes for their cognitive rehabilitation. Considering that classical techniques are focused on acting as guides and are dependent on help from therapists, significant efforts are being made to improve current methodologies and to use eHealth and Web-based architectures to implement information and communication technology (ICT) systems that achieve reliable, personalized, and home-based platforms to increase efficiency and level of attractiveness for patients and carers. Objective: The goal of this work was to provide an overview of the practices implemented for the assessment of stroke patients and cognitive rehabilitation. This study puts together traditional methods and the most recent personalized platforms based on ICT technologies and Internet of Things. Methods: A literature review has been distributed to a multidisciplinary team of researchers from engineering, psychology, and sport science fields. The systematic review has been focused on published scientific research, other European projects, and the most current innovative large-scale initiatives in the area. A total of 3469 results were retrieved from Web of Science, 284 studies from Journal of Medical Internet Research, and 15 European research projects from Community Research and Development Information Service from the last 15 years were reviewed for classification and selection regarding their relevance. Results: A total of 7 relevant studies on the screening of stroke patients have been presented with 6 additional methods for the analysis of kinematics and 9 studies on the execution of goal-oriented activities. Meanwhile, the classical methods to provide cognitive rehabilitation have been classified in the 5 main techniques implemented. Finally, the review has been finalized with the selection of 8 different ICT–based approaches found in scientific-technical studies, 9 European projects funded by the European Commission that offer eHealth architectures, and other large-scale activities such as smart houses and the initiative City4Age. Conclusions: Stroke is one of the main causes that most negatively affect countries in the socioeconomic aspect. The design of new ICT-based systems should provide 4 main features for an efficient and personalized cognitive rehabilitation: support in the execution of complex daily tasks, automatic error detection, home-based performance, and accessibility. Only 33% of the European projects presented fulfilled those requirements at the same time. For this reason, current and future large-scale initiatives focused on eHealth and smart environments should try to solve this situation by providing more complete and sophisticated platforms.

  • SCI & U homepage [montage]. Source: The Authors/Placeit.net; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL: http://rehab.jmir.org/2018/1/e6/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Participatory Design of an Online Self-Management Tool for Users With Spinal Cord Injury: Qualitative Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Rehospitalization rates resulting from secondary conditions in persons with spinal cord injuries (SCI) are high. Self-management programs for many chronic conditions have been associated with decreases in hospital readmissions. However, in the SCI community, evidence suggests that satisfaction with traditional self-management programs is low. Users with SCI have indicated preference for programs that are online (rather than in-person), that target SCI-specific concerns, and are led by peers with SCI. There is currently no program with all of these features, which addresses self-management of secondary conditions after SCI. Objective: The aim of this study was to provide details of a participatory design (PD) process for an internet-mediated self-management program for users with SCI (called SCI & U) and illustrate how it has been used to define design constraints and solutions. Methods: Users were involved in development as codesigners, codevelopers, and key informants. Codesigners and codevelopers were recruited from consumer advocacy groups and worked with a core development team. Key informants were recruited from geographically distributed advocacy groups to form a product advisory council that met regularly with the core team. During meetings, codesigners and informants walked through stages of work that typify PD processes such as exploration, discovery, and prototyping. This paper details the process by analyzing 10 meetings that took place between August 2015 and May 2016. Meetings were recorded, transcribed, and subjected to an inductive thematic analysis; resulting themes were organized according to their relationship to PD stages. Results: A total of 16 individuals participated in meeting discussions, including 7 researchers and 9 persons with SCI from 4 Canadian provinces. Themes of trust, expertise, and community emerged in every group discussion. The exploration stage revealed interest in online self-management resources coupled with concerns about information credibility. In general, participants indicated that they felt more confident with information received from trusted, in-person sources (eg, peers or health care professionals) than information found online. The discovery stage saw participants propose and discuss concepts to filter credible information and highlight community expertise, namely (1) a community-curated resource database, (2) online information navigators, and (3) group chats with peers. Several tools and techniques were collectively prototyped in an effort to foster trust and community; these are illustrated in the Results section. Conclusions: A PD process engaging users as codesigners, codevelopers, and informants can be used to identify design concerns and prototype online solutions to promote self-management after SCI. Future work will assess the usability of the collectively designed tools among a broad population of Canadians with SCI and the tools’ impact on self-efficacy and health.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Simon Fraser University - University Communications; URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sfupamr/8981968330; 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

    Abstract:

    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.

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