Posts Tagged systematic review

[ARTICLE] A Systematic Review of International Clinical Guidelines for Rehabilitation of People With Neurological Conditions: What Recommendations Are Made for Upper Limb Assessment? – Full Text

Background: Upper limb impairment is a common problem for people with neurological disabilities, affecting activity, performance, quality of life, and independence. Accurate, timely assessments are required for effective rehabilitation, and development of novel interventions. International consensus on upper limb assessment is needed to make research findings more meaningful, provide a benchmark for quality in clinical practice, more cost-effective neurorehabilitation and improved outcomes for neurological patients undergoing rehabilitation.

Aim: To conduct a systematic review, as part of the output of a European COST Action, to identify what recommendations are made for upper limb assessment.

Methods: We systematically reviewed published guidance on measures and protocols for assessment of upper limb function in neurological rehabilitation via electronic databases from January 2007–December 2017. Additional records were then identified through other sources. Records were selected for inclusion based on scanning of titles, abstracts and full text by two authors working independently, and a third author if there was disagreement. Records were included if they referred to “rehabilitation” and “assessment” or “measurement”. Reasons for exclusion were documented.

Results: From the initial 552 records identified (after duplicates were removed), 34 satisfied our criteria for inclusion, and only six recommended specific outcome measures and /or protocols. Records were divided into National Guidelines and other practice guidelines published in peer reviewed Journals. There was agreement that assessment is critical, should be conducted early and at regular intervals and that there is a need for standardized measures. Assessments should be conducted by a healthcare professional trained in using the measure and should encompass body function and structure, activity and participation.

Conclusions: We present a comprehensive, critical, and original summary of current recommendations. Defining a core set of measures and agreed protocols requires international consensus between experts representing the diverse and multi-disciplinary field of neurorehabilitation including clinical researchers and practitioners, rehabilitation technology researchers, and commercial developers. Current lack of guidance may hold-back progress in understanding function and recovery. Together with a Delphi consensus study and an overview of systematic reviews of outcome measures it will contribute to the development of international guidelines for upper limb assessment in neurological conditions.

Introduction

Worldwide prevalence of stroke in 2010 was 33 million, with 16.9 million people having a first stroke, of which 795,000 were American and 1.1 million European (1). It has been estimated that approximately one third of people fail to regain upper limb capacity, despite receiving therapy (2). This has important implications for both individuals and the wider society as reduced upper limb function is associated with dependence and poor quality of life for both patients and carers (35) and impacts on national economies (6).

While stroke has the highest prevalence, other neurological conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), and Traumatic Brian Injury, have a significant incidence and there are often similarities in presentation, and treatment and therefore assessment. The worldwide incidence of SCI is 40–80 cases per million population and the estimated European mean annual rate of MS incidence is 4.3 cases per 100,000 (7). Recently, Kister et al. (8) reported that 60% of people with MS have impaired hand function. The impact of upper limb dysfunction on ADL is higher than in stroke, as both sides are often affected (9). Although dysfunction after SCI depends on level of injury, upper limb function is consistently cited as a health priority. The incidence rate of TBI in Europe is about 235 per 100,000 population (10). Outcome data among European countries are very heterogeneous. From the US however, it is known that about 1.1% of the population suffer a TBI resulting in long term disability (11).

 

Continue —>  Frontiers | A Systematic Review of International Clinical Guidelines for Rehabilitation of People With Neurological Conditions: What Recommendations Are Made for Upper Limb Assessment? | Neurology

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[REVIEW] A review of international clinical guidelines for rehabilitation of people with neurological conditions: what recommendations are made for upper limb assessment?

Background: Upper limb impairment is a common problem for people with neurological disabilities, affecting activity, performance, quality of life and independence. Accurate, timely assessments are required for effective rehabilitation, and development of novel interventions. International consensus on upper limb assessment is needed to make research findings be more meaningful, provide a benchmark for quality in clinical practice, more cost-effective neurorehabilitation and improved outcomes for neurological patients undergoing rehabilitation.

Aim: To conduct a systematic review, as part of the output of a European COST Action, to identify what recommendations are made for upper limb assessment.

Methods: We systematically reviewed published guidance on measures and protocols for assessing upper limb function in neurological rehabilitation via electronic databases from January 2007 – December 2017. Additional records were then identified through other sources. Records were selected for inclusion based on scanning of titles, abstracts and full text by two authors working independently, and a third author if there was disagreement. Records were included if they referred to ‘rehabilitation’ and ‘assessment’ or ‘measurement’. Reasons for exclusion were documented.
Results: From the initial 552 records identified (after duplicates were removed), 34 satisfied our criteria for inclusion and only six recommended specific outcome measures and /or protocols. Records were divided into National Guidelines and other practice guidelines published in peer reviewed Journals. There was agreement that assessment is critical, should be conducted early and at regular intervals and that there is a need for standardised measures. Assessments should be conducted by a healthcare professional trained in using the measure and should encompass body function and structure, activity and participation.
Conclusions: We present a comprehensive, critical and original summary of current recommendations. Defining a core set of measures and agreed protocols requires international consensus between experts representing the diverse and multi-disciplinary field of neurorehabilitation including clinical researchers and practitioners, rehabilitation technology researchers and commercial developers. Current lack of guidance may hold-back progress in understanding function and recovery. Together with a Delphi consensus study and an overview of systematic reviews of outcome measures it will contribute to the development of international guidelines for upper limb assessment in neurological conditions.

 

via Frontiers | A review of international clinical guidelines for rehabilitation of people with neurological conditions: what recommendations are made for upper limb assessment? | Neurology

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[ARTICLE] Sensory retraining of the leg after stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis – Full Text

This systematic review aimed to investigate the effects of interventions intended for retraining leg somatosensory function on somatosensory impairment, and secondary outcomes of balance and gait, after stroke.

Databases searched from inception to 16 January 2019 included Cochrane Library, PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PEDro, PsycINFO, and Scopus. Reference lists of relevant publications were also manually searched.

All types of quantitative studies incorporating interventions that intended to improve somatosensory function in the leg post stroke were retrieved. The Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies was used for quality appraisal. Standardised mean differences were calculated and meta-analyses were performed using preconstructed Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

The search yielded 16 studies, comprising 430 participants, using a diverse range of interventions. In total, 10 of the included studies were rated weak in quality, 6 were rated moderate, and none was rated strong. Study quality was predominantly affected by high risk of selection bias, lack of blinding, and the use of somatosensory measures that have not been psychometrically evaluated. A significant heterogeneous positive summary effect size (SES) was found for somatosensory outcomes (SES: 0.52; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.04 to 1.01; I2 = 74.48%), which included joint position sense, light touch, and two-point discrimination. There was also a significant heterogeneous positive SES for Berg Balance Scale scores (SES: 0.62; 95% CI: 0.10 to 1.14; I2 = 59.05%). Gait SES, mainly of gait velocity, was not significant.

This review suggests that interventions used for retraining leg somatosensory impairment after stroke significantly improved somatosensory function and balance but not gait.

 

Somatosensory impairment is common after stroke, occurring in up to 89% of stroke survivors.1Proprioception and tactile somatosensation are more impaired in the leg than in the arm post stroke,2 with the frequency increasing with increasing level of weakness and stroke severity.2,3 Leg somatosensory impairment also has a significant impact on independence in daily activities3 and activity participation in stroke survivors,4 as well as predicts longer hospital stays and lower frequency of home discharges.5

Leg somatosensory impairment negatively influences balance and gait. Post-stroke plantar tactile deficits correlate with lower balance scores and greater postural sway in standing.6 Tactile and proprioceptive feedback provide critical information about weight borne through the limb.7 Accordingly, tactile and proprioceptive somatosensory deficits may hinder paretic limb load detection ability, potentially leading to reduced weight-bearing and contributing to balance impairment and falls post stroke.8 Indeed, stroke survivors with somatosensory impairment have a higher falls incidence compared to those without somatosensory impairment.3 In addition to reduced balance, impaired load detection may also contribute to gait asymmetry, particularly in the push-off phase.8 In addition, leg proprioception influences variance in stride length, gait velocity,9 and walking endurance in stroke survivors.10 In fact, leg somatosensory impairment has been shown to be the third most important independent factor for reduced gait velocity in stroke survivors.11

Two systematic reviews have previously investigated the effects of interventions for retraining somatosensory function after stroke.12,13 In the first review, published more than a decade ago, only four of the 14 included studies targeted the leg,12 while the second only included studies of the arm.13 Nevertheless, both reviews reported that there were insufficient data to determine the effectiveness of these interventions. A third systematic review evaluating the effectiveness of proprioceptive training14 only included 16 studies with stroke-specific populations, of which only two specifically addressed the leg. From these three reviews, the effects of interventions for post-stroke leg somatosensory impairment remain unclear. In addition, the first review12 was critiqued for including studies with participants without somatosensory impairment, and that did not report somatosensory outcomes.15 Therefore, a targeted systematic review, addressing the limitations of previous reviews, is required to elucidate the effects of interventions for post-stroke leg somatosensory impairment.

It is of interest to clinicians and researchers to evaluate the effects of leg somatosensory retraining on factors that may ultimately influence activity and participation, as this could change practice. Therefore, this systematic review aimed to examine the effects of post-stroke leg somatosensory retraining on somatosensory impairment, balance, gait, motor impairment, and leg function.[…]

 

Continue —> Sensory retraining of the leg after stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis – Fenny SF Chia, Suzanne Kuys, Nancy Low Choy, 2019

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[ARTICLE] The Relationship of the FOUR Score to Patient Outcome: A Systematic Review -Full Text

Abstract

The Full Outline of UnResponsiveness (FOUR) score assessment of consciousness replaces the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) verbal component with assessment of brainstem reflexes. A comprehensive overview studying the relationship between a patient’s FOUR score and outcome is lacking. We aim to systematically review published literature reporting the relationship of FOUR score to outcome in adult patients with impaired consciousness. We systematically searched for records of relevant studies: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, Web of Science, ClinicalTrials.gov, and OpenGrey. Prospective, observational studies of patients with impaired consciousness were included where consciousness was assessed using FOUR score, and where the outcome in mortality or validated functional outcome scores was reported. Consensus-based screening and quality appraisal were performed. Outcome prognostication was synthesized narratively. Forty records (37 studies) were identified, with overall low (n = 2), moderate (n = 25), or high (n = 13) risk of bias. There was significant heterogeneity in patient characteristics. FOUR score showed good to excellent prognostication of in-hospital mortality in most studies (area under curve [AUC], >0.80). It was good at predicting poor functional outcome (AUC, 0.80–0.90). There was some evidence that motor and eye components (also GCS components) had better prognostic ability than brainstem components. Overall, FOUR score relates closely to in-hospital mortality and poor functional outcome. More studies with standardized design are needed to better characterize it in different patient groups, confirm the differences between its four components, and compare it with the performance of GCS and its recently described derivative, the GCS-Pupils, which includes pupil response as a fourth component.

Introduction

Clinicians’ management decisions about acute traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients are guided by assessments of the person’s current state and may also be influenced by their perceptions of its relation to the patient’s likely outcome.1 Internationally, the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is the most widely used tool for assessing and communicating about a patient’s responsiveness.2 All the three components—eye, motor, and verbal responses—relate to outcome,3 as does the derived summation into the GCS score, albeit with some loss of information. Moreover, the GCS is combined with other features, such as pupil response, age, and injury characteristics, in numerous multi-variate prognostic models for predicting functional outcome and mortality.4–6 The difficulty in assigning a verbal response in an intubated patient and the separation of assessment of brain stem features, such as pupil response, in multi-variate modeling stimulated specialists in neurological intensive care to propose an alternative approach.

The Full Outline of UnResponsiveness (FOUR) score was described by Wijdicks and colleagues. It is based on the eye and motor components of the Glasgow system, but the verbal component was removed and two new components added, namely brainstem reflexes and respiratory pattern. The FOUR score was developed for the assessment of level of consciousness in patients admitted to a neurointensive care unit.7 This was with the purpose of improving the standardized assessment of level of consciousness for patients who are intubated or have focal neurological deficits. Each component is a 5-point scale, ranging from 0 to 4, with combined FOUR score ranging from 0 to 16, with 16 indicating the highest level of consciousness. Unlike the GCS, the eyes must be able to track or blink to command in order to obtain the maximum score of 4 points for eye component in FOUR score. Table 1 shows the scoring criteria for all components of FOUR score and GCS. The FOUR score approach emphasizes description of a patient by the combined score and the validity of the latter as an index of acute severity through its relationship to outcome. In order to provide a comprehensive assessment of the latter, we have performed a systematic review of the reported evidence, with focus on prognostic performance in groups of patients particularly targeted by FOUR score, namely those with a neurological diagnosis, intubated patients, and those admitted to dedicated neuroscience centers.

Table 1. Components of the FOUR Score and Glasgow Coma Scale
Full Outline of UnResponsiveness Score Glasgow Coma Scale
Eye response
4 = eyelids open or opened, tracking, or blinking to command
3 = eyelids open but not tracking
2 = eyelids closed, but open to loud voice
1 = eyelids closed, but open to pain
0 = eyelids remain closed with pain
Eye opening
4 = spontaneous
3 = to speech
2 = to pain
1 = none
Motor response
4 = thumbs-up, fist, or peace sign
3 = localizing to pain
2 = flexion response to pain
1 = extension response to pain
0 = no response to pain or generalized myoclonus status
Best motor response
6 = obeying commands
5 = localizing to pain
4 = withdrawal from pain
3 = abnormal flexion response to pain
2 = extension response to pain
1 = none
Brainstem reflexes
4 = pupil and corneal reflexes present
3 = one pupil wide and fixed
2 = pupil or corneal reflexes absent
1 = pupil and corneal reflexes absent
0 = absent pupil, corneal and cough reflex
Verbal response
5 = orientated
4 = confused
3 = inappropriate words
2 = incomprehensible sounds
1 = none
Respiration
4 = not intubated, regular breathing pattern
3 = not intubated, Cheyne-Stokes breathing pattern
2 = not intubated, irregular breathing
1 = breathes above ventilator rate
0 = breathes at ventilator rate or apnea

FOUR, Full Outline of UnResponsiveness. […]

 

Continue —>  The Relationship of the FOUR Score to Patient Outcome: A Systematic Review | Journal of Neurotrauma

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[Abstract] Use of Kinesio taping in lower-extremity rehabilitation of post-stroke patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

and purpose: The benefits of Kinesio taping (KT) in post-stroke rehabilitation have not been determined. This study aimed to evaluate its effects on lower-extremity rehabilitation in patients after a stroke.

METHODS:

A literature search was performed using EBSCOhost, Embase, Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), PubMed, Cochrane, Web of Science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), SinoMed, and Wanfang Data through June 2018. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the use of KT during lower-extremity, post-stroke rehabilitation were selected. Meta-analysis was conducted.

RESULTS:

A total of 14 RCTs of low to moderate quality were reviewed and included 783 participants. Results indicated that KT significantly improved patients’ lower extremity spasticity, motor function, balance, ambulation, gait parameters, and daily activities, with few adverse effects.

CONCLUSION:

KT may have positive effects on lower-extremity, post-stroke rehabilitation. Due to the limited number and quality of the research, additional studies are needed to identify KT benefits.

via Use of Kinesio taping in lower-extremity rehabilitation of post-stroke patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. – PubMed – NCBI

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[Abstract] The Effect of Noninvasive Brain Stimulation on Poststroke Cognitive Function: A Systematic Review

Abstract

Introduction. Cognitive impairment after stroke has been associated with lower quality of life and independence in the long run, stressing the need for methods that target impairment for cognitive rehabilitation. The use of noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) on recovery of language functions is well documented, yet the effects of NIBS on other cognitive domains remain largely unknown. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review that evaluates the effects of different stimulation techniques on domain-specific (long-term) cognitive recovery after stroke. 

Methods. Three databases (PubMed, EMBASE, and PsycINFO) were searched for articles (in English) on the effects of NIBS on cognitive domains, published up to January 2018. 

Results. A total of 40 articles were included: randomized controlled trials (n = 21), studies with a crossover design (n = 9), case studies (n = 6), and studies with a mixed design (n = 4). Most studies tested effects on neglect (n = 25). The majority of the studies revealed treatment effects on at least 1 time point poststroke, in at least 1 cognitive domain. Studies varied highly on the factors time poststroke, number of treatment sessions, and stimulation protocols. Outcome measures were generally limited to a few cognitive tests. 

Conclusion. Our review suggests that NIBS is able to alleviate neglect after stroke. However, the results are still inconclusive and preliminary for the effect of NIBS on other cognitive domains. A standardized core set of outcome measures of cognition, also at the level of daily life activities and participation, and international agreement on treatment protocols, could lead to better evaluation of the efficacy of NIBS and comparisons between studies.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1545968319834900

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[Abstract] Effectiveness of the Bobath concept in the treatment of stroke: a systematic review

Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate the effectiveness of the Bobath concept in sensorimotor rehabilitation after stroke.

Materials and methods: A systematic literature review was conducted on the Bobath concept from the first publication available to January 2018, consulting PUBMED, CENTRAL, CINAHL and PEDro databases. Fifteen clinical trials were selected in two consecutive screenings. Two independent researchers rated the studies according to the PEDro scale from which a best evidence synthesis was derived to determine the strength of the evidence.

Results: The Bobath concept is not more effective than other approaches used in post-stroke rehabilitation. There is moderate evidence for the superiority of other therapeutic approaches such as forced use of the affected upper limb and constraint-induced movement therapy for motor control of the upper limb.

Conclusions: The Bobath concept is not superior to other approaches for regaining mobility, motor control of the lower limb and gait, balance and activities of daily living of patients after stroke. There is moderate evidence regarding the superior results of other approaches in terms of the motor control and dexterity of the upper limb. Due to the limitations concerning the methodological quality of the studies, further well-designed studies are needed.

  • Implications for rehabilitation
  • The Bobath concept is not superior to other approaches for patients after stroke.
  • The treatments that incorporate overuse of the affected upper limb via intensive treatments with high-repetitions with or without robotic aids present greater effectiveness in the motor control of the upper limb and dexterity.


https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09638288.2019.1590865?fbclid=IwAR1Rjzaw7YeLMsgLiHA7Q3ar9-cN6CS58uSdvFVHpNd1WU_mriL7Q2R1_fU&journalCode=idre20

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[ARTICLE] Technology-based cognitive training and rehabilitation interventions for individuals with mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review

Abstract

Background

Individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at heightened risk of developing dementia. Rapid advances in computing technology have enabled researchers to conduct cognitive training and rehabilitation interventions with the assistance of technology. This systematic review aims to evaluate the effects of technology-based cognitive training or rehabilitation interventions to improve cognitive function among individuals with MCI.

Methods

We conducted a systematic review using the following criteria: individuals with MCI, empirical studies, and evaluated a technology-based cognitive training or rehabilitation intervention. Twenty-six articles met the criteria.

Results

Studies were characterized by considerable variation in study design, intervention content, and technologies applied. The major types of technologies applied included computerized software, tablets, gaming consoles, and virtual reality. Use of technology to adjust the difficulties of tasks based on participants’ performance was an important feature. Technology-based cognitive training and rehabilitation interventions had significant effect on global cognitive function in 8 out of 22 studies; 8 out of 18 studies found positive effects on attention, 9 out of 16 studies on executive function, and 16 out of 19 studies on memory. Some cognitive interventions improved non-cognitive symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and ADLs.

Conclusion

Technology-based cognitive training and rehabilitation interventions show promise, but the findings were inconsistent due to the variations in study design. Future studies should consider using more consistent methodologies. Appropriate control groups should be designed to understand the additional benefits of cognitive training and rehabilitation delivered with the assistance of technology.

Background

Due to the aging of the world’s population, the number of people who live with dementia is projected to triple to 131 million by the year 2050 []. Development of preventative strategies for individuals at higher risk of developing dementia is an international priority []. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is regarded as an intermediate stage between normal cognition and dementia []. Individuals with MCI usually suffer with significant cognitive complaints, yet do not exhibit the functional impairments required for a diagnosis of dementia. These people typically have a faster rate of progression to dementia than those without MCI [], but the cognitive decline among MCI subjects has the potential of being improved []. Previous systematic reviews of cognitive intervention studies, both cognitive training and cognitive rehabilitation, have demonstrated promising effects on improving cognitive function among subjects with MCI [].

Recently, rapid advances in computing technology have enabled researchers to conduct cognitive training and rehabilitation interventions with the assistance of technology. A variety of technologies, including virtual reality (VR), interactive video gaming, and mobile technology, have been used to implement cognitive training and rehabilitation programs. Potential advantages to using technology-based interventions include enhanced accessibility and cost-effectiveness, providing a user experience that is immersive and comprehensive, as well as providing adaptive responses based on individual performance. Many computerized cognitive intervention programs are easily accessed through a computer or tablet, and the technology can objectively collect data during the intervention to provide real-time feedback to participants or therapists. Importantly, interventions delivered using technology have shown better effects compared to traditional cognitive training and rehabilitation programs in improving cognitive function and quality of life []. The reasons for this superiority are not well-understood but could be related to the usability and motivational factors related to the real-time interaction and feedback received from the training system [].

Three recent reviews of cognitive training and rehabilitation for use with individuals with MCI and dementia suggest that technology holds promise to improve both cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes []. The reviews conducted by Coyle, et al. [] and Chandler, et al. [] were limited by accessing articles from only two databases, and did not comprehensively cover available technologies. Hill, et al. [] limited their review to papers published until July 2016 and included only older adults aged 60 and above. More technology-based intervention studies have been conducted since then, and only including studies with older adults 60 and above could limit the scope of the review given that adults can develop early-onset MCI in their 40s []. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to 1) capture more studies using technology-based cognitive interventions by conducting a more comprehensive search using additional databases 2) understand the effect of technology-based cognitive interventions on improving abilities among individuals with MCI; and 3) examine the effects of multimodal technology-based interventions and their potential superiority compared to single component interventions.[…]

 

Continue —-> Technology-based cognitive training and rehabilitation interventions for individuals with mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review

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[ARTICLE] A Systematic Review of Usability and Accessibility in Tele-Rehabilitation Systems – Full Text

Abstract

The appropriate development of tele-rehabilitation platforms requires the involvement and iterative assessments of potential users and experts in usability. Usability consists of measuring the degree to which an interactive system can be used by specified final users to achieve quantified objectives with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a quantified context of use. Usability studies need to be complemented by an accessibility assessment. Accessibility indicates how easy it is for a person to access any content, regardless of their physical, educational, social, psychological, or cultural conditions. This chapter intends to conduct a systematic review of the literature on usability and accessibility in tele-rehabilitation platforms carried out through the PRISMA method. To do so, we searched in ACM, IEEE Xplore, Google Scholar, and Scopus databases for the most relevant papers of the last decade. The main result of the usability shows that the user experience predominates over the heuristic studies, and the usability questionnaire most used in user experience is the SUS. The main result of the accessibility reveals that the topic is only marginally studied. In addition, it is observed that Web applications do not apply the physical and cognitive accessibility standards defined by the WCAG 2.1.

1. Introduction

Innovation and technological advances involve the offering of valuable products and services to improve the quality of life of citizens. In recent decades, the domain of telemedicine has reported advances in the control, monitoring and evaluation of various clinical conditions [1]. In the field of rehabilitation, numerous studies and state-of-the-arts from informatics perspective [2] and different areas of application [34], show the effectiveness and advantages of the use of remote rehabilitation (or tele-rehabilitation) [56]. Tele-rehabilitation aims to reduce the time and costs of offering rehabilitation services. The main objective is to improve the quality of life of patients [7]. Tele-rehabilitation cannot replace traditional neurological rehabilitation [8]. It is considered as a partial replacement of face-to-face physical rehabilitation [9]. Tele-rehabilitation uses mainly two groups of technologies: (1) wearable devices and (2) vision-based systems based on depth cameras and intelligent algorithms [10]. In [5], the authors describe and analyze some characteristics and typical requirements tele-rehabilitation systems.

Design and conception of tele-rehabilitations platforms that do not consider guidelines, metrics, patterns, principles, or practice success factors can affect the access to the service, the effectiveness, quality, and usefulness. It can cause problems of confusion, error, stress, and abandonment of the rehabilitation plan. Therefore, guaranteeing the correct use of these applications implies to incorporate different studies of usability in the life cycle of the interactive system. For this reason, aspects of human factors engineering in tele-rehabilitation systems have been studied with the aim of providing accessible, efficient, usable and understandable systems [1112].

User-centered agile development (UCD) approaches allows developers to specify and design the set of interfaces of any interactive system in a flexible and effective way [1314]. The agile development life cycle centered on user experience (UX-ADLC) allows iteratively evaluating system interfaces based on the results of the previous iteration. The evaluation also includes the errors and usability problems encountered [15]. Thus, usability studies are an essential aspect of technology development [16]. This is the reason why designers need to meet usability and user experience objectives while adhering to agile principles of software development. Formative and summative usability tests are methods of evaluating software products widely adopted in user-centered design (UCD) [15] and agile UX development lifecycle. Both approaches are frequently used in the development of software applications. Rapid formative usability should be carried out so as to fulfill UX goals while satisfying end users’ needs. Formative usability is used as an iterative test-and-refine method performed in the early steps of a design process, in order to detect and fix usability problems [15]. Summative usability allows for assuring, in later phases of the design, the quality of the user experience (UX) for a software product in development. The focus is on short work periods (or iterations) where usability tests (formative and summative) must be contemplated. This means that quick formative usability tests should be carried out to fulfill UX goals [17].

The ISO 9241-11 standard [18] is a framework for understanding and applying the concept of usability to situations in which people use interactive systems and other types of systems (including built environments), products (including industrial and consumer products) and services (including technical and personal services). Likewise, the usability standard ISO 9241-11 facilitates the measurement of the use of a product with the aim of achieving specific objectives with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a context of specific use [18].

Usability can be studied through software evaluation methods widely accepted in user centered design (UCD) [15]. It can be formative or summative [8]. Formative usability consists of a set of iterative tests carried out in the early stages of the design process. The aim of the tests is to refine and improve the software product, as well as to detect and solve potential usability problems. As a complement, the summative usability allows to obtain an evaluation of the user experience (UX) for a software product in development. Formative usability facilitates decision making during the design and development of the product, while summative usability is useful when studying user experience (UX).

Tullis and Stetson [19] evaluated the effectiveness of the most used questionnaires to measure the summative usability. The authors found that the System Usability Scale (SUS) [20] and the IBM Computer System Usability Questionnaire (CSUQ) [21] are the most effective. SUS provides a quick way for measuring the usability through user experience. It consists of a 10-item questionnaire with 5-likert scale range from “Strong Agree” to “Strongly Disagree.” The CSUQ focuses on three main aspects: (1) the utility, which refers to the opinion of users regarding the ease of use, the ease of learning, the speed to perform the operations, the efficiency in completing tasks and subjective feeling; (2) the quality of the information which studies the subjectivity of the user regarding the management of system errors, the clarity of the information and the intelligibility; and finally, (3) the quality of the interface which measures the affective component of the user’s attitude in the use of the system.

Large part of the tasks in the tele-rehabilitation systems are carried out by patients who require to treat a temporary disability. Considering the special needs of these users, usability evaluations alone cannot guarantee an appropriate design of the system. On the contrary, accessibility studies can provide the mechanisms to offer the same means of use to all users of any interactive system. A study combining usability and accessibility was presented in [22]. The study analyzes how remote and/or video monitoring technologies affect the accessibility, effectiveness, quality and usefulness of the services offered by tele-rehabilitation systems. To do this, the authors provide an overview of the fundamentals necessary for the analysis of usability, in addition to analyzing the strengths and limitations of various tele-rehabilitation technologies, considering how technologies interact with the clinical needs of end users such as accessibility, effectiveness, quality and utility of the service [22].

For many people, the Web is a fundamental part of everyday life. Therefore, a fundamental aspect to ensure the inclusivity of a Website is its accessibility. For example, people who cannot use their arms to write on their computer can use a mouth pencil [23]. Or someone who cannot listen well can use subtitles to understand a video. Also, a person who has a low vision can use a screen reader to listen what is written on the screen [24]. Therefore, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web without any type of barriers [24]. There are several standards related to accessibility that provide guidelines and recommendations [25]. Some of the most important, according to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), are the following ones:

  • ISO 9241: covers ergonomics of human-computer interaction.

  • ISO 14915 (software ergonomics for multimedia user interfaces): multimedia controls and navigation structure.

  • ISO CD 9241-151 (software ergonomics for World Wide Web user interfaces): designs of Web user interfaces.

  • ISO TS 16071 (guidance on accessibility for human-computer interface): recommendations for the design of systems and software applications that allows a greater accessibility to computer systems for users with disabilities.

  • ISO CD 9241-20: accessibility guideline for information communication, equipment and services.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) [26] from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) [27] develops Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) [28] 2.0 (at present 2.1) that covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web contents more accessible. These guidelines were considered a standard in 2012, the ISO/IEC 40500. Complementary to these guidelines are the W3C User Agent Accessibility guidelines [29] (UAAG) and Authoring tool Accessibility guidelines [30] (ATAG), which addresses the current technological capabilities to modify the presentation based on the device capabilities and the preferences of the user.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provides international standards to make the Web as accessible as possible. It comprises the Web 2.0 Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) [31], also known as the ISO 40500 [32], which are adapted to the European Standard called EN 301549 [33].

The current version of the accessibility guidelines is “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1” (WCAG 2.1) [23]. WCAG 2.1 consists of 4 principles, 13 guidelines and 76 compliance criteria. The four principles refer to [34].

Principle 1—perceptibility: refers to the good practices regarding the presentation of information and user interface components. It consists of 4 guidelines and 29 compliance criteria.

Principle 2—operability: the components of the user interface and navigation must be operable. It includes 5 guidelines and 29 compliance criteria.

Principle 3—comprehensibility: the information and user interface management must be understandable. It has 3 guidelines and 17 compliance criteria.

Principle 4—robustness: the content must be robust enough to rely on the interpretation of a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. It includes a guideline and three compliance criteria.

Usability and accessibility can be combined to achieve the development of more accessible, efficient, equitable and universal tele-rehabilitation systems. This chapter presents a systematic literature review of summative and formative usability studies as well as accessibility studies in the context of tele-rehabilitation systems. The remaining of the manuscript is composed of four sections. Section 2 presents the method used to proceed with the systematic review. Section 3 is a description of the most relevant papers in usability applied to tele-rehabilitation. Section 4 describes the results regarding the accessibility. And Section 5 draws conclusions on the main findings of this literature review.[…]

 

Continue —> A Systematic Review of Usability and Accessibility in Tele-Rehabilitation Systems | IntechOpen

Figure 1.
PRISMA 2009 flow diagram chart that shows the selection process of the papers included in the literature review for usability.

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[Abstract] Upper limb tendon/ muscle vibration in persons with subacute and chronic stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis

 

INTRODUCTION: Results of several recent studies suggest that tendon/muscle vibration treatment may improve motor performance and reduce spasticity in individuals with stroke. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the efficacy of tendon/muscle vibration treatment for upper limb functional movements in persons with subacute and chronic stroke.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: We searched MEDLINE (Ovid), EMBASE (Ovid), and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Wiley) from inception to September 2017. We included randomized controlled trials comparing upper limb tendon/muscle vibration to sham treatment/rest or conventional interventions in persons with subacute and chronic stroke. Our primary outcome was upper limb functional movement at the end of the treatment period.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: We included eight trials enrolling a total of 211 participants. We found insufficient evidence to support a benefit for upper limb functional movement (standard mean difference -0.32, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.74 to 0.10, I2 25%, 6 trials, 135 participants). Movement time for reaching tasks significantly decreased after using tendon/muscle vibration (standard mean difference -1.20, 95% CI -2.05 to -0.35, I2 65%, 2 trials, 74 participants). We also found that tendon/muscle vibration was not associated with a significant reduction in spasticity (4 trials).
CONCLUSIONS: Besides shorter movement time for reaching tasks, we did not identify evidence to support clinical improvement in upper limb functional movements after tendon/muscle vibration treatment in persons with subacute and chronic stroke. A small number of trials were identified; therefore, there is a need for larger, higher quality studies and to consider the clinical relevance of performance-based outcome measures that focus on time tocomplete a functional movement such as a reach.

via Upper limb tendon/ muscle vibration in persons with subacute and chronic stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis – European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2019 Mar 11 – Minerva Medica – Journals

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