BACKGROUND: Inertial motion capture systems are used in many applications such as measuring the movement quality in stroke survivors. The absence of clinical effectiveness and usability evidence in these assistive technologies into rehabilitation has delayed the transition of research into clinical practice. Recently, a new inertial motion capture system was developed in a project, called INTERACTION, to objectively measure the quality of movement (QoM) in stroke survivors during daily-life activity. With INTERACTION, we are to be able to investigate into what happens with patients after discharge from the hospital. Resulting QoM metrics, where a metric is defined as a measure of some property, are subsequently presented to care professionals. Metrics include for example: reaching distance, walking speed, and hand distribution plots. The latter shows a density plot of the hand position in the transversal plane. The objective of this study is to investigate the opinions of care professionals in using these metrics obtained from INTERACTION and its usability.
METHODS: By means of a semi-structured interview, guided by a presentation, presenting two patient reports. Each report includes several QoM metric (like reaching distance, hand position density plots, shoulder abduction) results obtained during daily-life measurements and in clinic and were evaluated by care professionals not related to the project. The results were compared with care professionals involved within the INTERACTION project. Furthermore, two questionnaires (5-point Likert and open questionnaire) were handed over to rate the usability of the metrics and to investigate if they would like such a system in their clinic.
RESULTS: Eleven interviews were conducted, where each interview included either two or three care professionals as a group, in Switzerland and The Netherlands. Evaluation of the case reports (CRs) by participants and INTERACTION members showed a high correlation for both lower and upper extremity metrics. Participants were most in favor of hand distribution plots during daily-life activities. All participants mentioned that visualizing QoM of stroke survivors over time during daily-life activities has more possibilities compared to current clinical assessments. They also mentioned that these metrics could be important for self-evaluation of stroke survivors.
DISCUSSION: The results showed that most participants were able to understand the metrics presented in the CRs. For a few metrics, it remained difficult to assess the underlying cause of the QoM. Hence, a combination of metrics is needed to get a better insight of the patient. Furthermore, it remains important to report the state (e.g., how the patient feels), its surroundings (outside, inside the house, on a slippery surface), and detail of specific activities (does the patient grasps a piece of paper or a heavy cooking pan but also dual tasks). Altogether, it remains a questions how to determine what the patient is doing and where the patient is doing his or her activities.