Methodologies for Evaluating the Usability of Rehabilitation Technologies Aimed at Supporting Shared Decision-Making: Scoping Review


I had the privilege of co-authoring a research article about rehabilitation technologies and usability. Below is a research summary and a link to the full article.

Background: The field of rehabilitation has seen a recent rise in technologies to support shared decision-making (SDM). Usability testing during the design process of SDM technologies is needed to optimize adoption and realize potential benefits. There is variability in how usability is defined and measured. Given the complexity of usability, a thorough examination of the methodologies used to measure usability to develop the SDM technologies used in rehabilitation care is needed.

Objective: This scoping review aims to answer the following research questions: which methods and measures have been used to produce knowledge about the usability of rehabilitation technologies aimed at supporting SDM at the different phases of development and implementation? Which parameters of usability have been measured and reported?

Methods: This review followed the Arksey and O’Malley framework. An electronic search was performed in the Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, and PsycINFO databases from January 2005 up to November 2020. In total, 2 independent reviewers screened all retrieved titles, abstracts, and full texts according to the inclusion criteria and extracted the data. The International Organization for Standardization framework was used to define the scope of usability (effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction). The characteristics of the studies were outlined in a descriptive summary. Findings were categorized based on usability parameters, technology interventions, and measures of usability.

Results: A total of 38 articles were included. The most common SDM technologies were web-based aids (15/33, 46%). The usability of SDM technologies was assessed during development, preimplementation, or implementation, using 14 different methods. The most frequent methods were questionnaires (24/38, 63%) and semistructured interviews (16/38, 42%). Satisfaction (27/38, 71%) was the most common usability parameter mapped to types of SDM technologies and usability evaluation methods. User-centered design (9/15, 60%) was the most frequently used technology design framework.

Conclusions: The results from this scoping review highlight the importance and the complexity of usability evaluation. Although various methods and measures were shown to be used to evaluate the usability of technologies to support SDM in rehabilitation, very few evaluations used in the included studies were found to adequately span the selected usability domains. This review identified gaps in usability evaluation, as most studies (24/38, 63%) relied solely on questionnaires rather than multiple methods, and most questionnaires simply focused on the usability parameter of satisfaction. The consideration of end users (such as patients and clinicians) is of particular importance for the development of technologies to support SDM, as the process of SDM itself aims to improve patient-centered care and integrate both patient and clinician voices into their rehabilitation care.

JMIR Rehabil Assist Technol 2023;10:e41359

Alhasani, R., George, N., Radman, D., Auger, C., & Ahmed, S. (2023). Methodologies for Evaluating the Usability of Rehabilitation Technologies Aimed at Supporting Shared Decision-Making: Scoping Review. JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies10(1), e41359.

DOI: doi:10.2196/41359


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