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Perspectives on the prospective development of stroke-specific lower extremity wearable monitoring technology: A qualitative focus group study with physical therapists and individuals with stroke

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Louie, DR, Bird, ML ORCID: 0000-0001-9642-7196, Menon, C and Eng, JJ 2020 , 'Perspectives on the prospective development of stroke-specific lower extremity wearable monitoring technology: A qualitative focus group study with physical therapists and individuals with stroke' , Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, vol. 17, no. 1 , pp. 1-11 , doi: 10.1186/s12984-020-00666-6.

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Abstract

Background: Wearable activity monitors that track step count can increase the wearer’s physical activity andmotivation but are infrequently designed for the slower gait speed and compensatory patterns after stroke. Newand available technology may allow for the design of stroke-specific wearable monitoring devices, capable ofdetecting more than just step counts, which may enhance how rehabilitation is delivered. The objective of thisstudy was to identify important considerations in the development of stroke-specific lower extremity wearablemonitoring technology for rehabilitation, from the perspective of physical therapists and individuals with stroke.Methods: A qualitative research design with focus groups was used to collect data. Five focus groups wereconducted, audio recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using content analysis to generateoverarching categories representing the stakeholder considerations for the development of stroke-specific wearablemonitor technology for the lower extremity.Results: A total of 17 physical therapists took part in four focus group discussions and three individuals with strokeparticipated in the fifth focus group. Our analysis identified four main categories for consideration: 1) ‘Variability’described the heterogeneity of patient presentation, therapy approaches, and therapeutic goals that are taken intoaccount for stroke rehabilitation; 2) ‘Context of use’ described the different settings and purposes for whichstakeholders could foresee employing stroke-specific wearable technology; 3) ‘Crucial design features’ identified themeasures, functions, and device characteristics that should be considered for incorporation into prospectivetechnology to enhance uptake; and 4) ‘Barriers to adopting technology’ highlighted challenges, including personalattitudes and design flaws, that may limit the integration of current and future wearable monitoring technologyinto clinical practice.Conclusions: The findings from this qualitative study suggest that the development of stroke-specific lowerextremity wearable monitoring technology is viewed positively by physical therapists and individuals with stroke.While a single, specific device or function may not accommodate all the variable needs of therapists and theirclients, it was agreed that wearable monitoring technology could enhance how physical therapists assess and treattheir clients. Future wearable devices should be developed in consideration of the highlighted design features andpotential barriers for uptake.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Louie, DR and Bird, ML and Menon, C and Eng, JJ
Keywords: stroke, fitness tracker, wearable electronic devices, walking, remote sensing technology
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
ISSN: 1743-0003
DOI / ID Number: 10.1186/s12984-020-00666-6
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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