Preliminary results are in from PROCare4Life PILOT 1

How is PROCare4Life PILOT 1 doing? Preliminary results are in!

The main objective of PROCare4Life pilots is to deploy the PROCare4Life platform and verify its technical use and acceptance.

Currently our project is completing the first of three pilot phases with about 200 users already actively involved in testing the partially integrated solution in the three different scenarios: home, rehabilitation and daycare centers. With the aim of collecting user needs and preferences in different components and align them with the technological developments, participants are having the possibility to test the PROCare4Life App and its functionalities together with the wearable bracelet to be assessed in a clinical environment enriched by sensors to detect disease symptoms and analyze their movements.

PROCare4Life first pilot has been broken into:

Feasibility phase: Once the technological devices were installed across our 6 pilot sites, Fitbits, selected sensors, and mini-PCs, in addition to feedback videos, were all methods of data collection used. The technical team iteratively evaluated the relative technological feasibility together with the clinical team. Difficulties in implementation were analysed and the following solutions emerged:

  • PROCare4Life technical team developed PROCareOS to combat the flaws in the initial system and produce a more user-friendly program. This model-independent operating system installs the necessary components in a simplified way. The advantages include automatic updates, automatic restart, optimized installation, the lack of need for a smartphone configuration, and IP address independence
  • Specific installation manuals for the PROCare4Life non-technical team were created and then updated with feedback from clinicians once used by them in real environment
  •  Remote meetings were initiated along with a tracking system of ‘ticketing’ to promptly discuss and solve the technical issues.

Usability phase: Gradually after the installation of the devices has been taking place, data have started to be collected. Among these data, usability has been evaluated during interviews through open questions and System Usability Scale (SUS), and the information provided by users collected for further improvement of the components and the devices of the PROCare4Life solution. While the overall idea behind the system has been well received so far:

  • Users Manuals that were created for pilot 1 are currently being upgraded with the aim of producing a second and improved version that includes more detailed troubleshooting instructions and new functionalities as they become available in pilot 2 and 3.

Data analysis phase: Last June, a preliminary study of results from pilot 1 was performed and included in D6.1 with a full analysis expected in deliverable 7.2. This work provides conclusions that lead us to changes and to implement adjustments:

  • Relating to the number and type of scales that participants will fill in via the App in order to reduce the risk of fatigue and increase engagement without losing any relevant health data.
  • Regarding some features and functionalities on the Web platform for professionals to better meet their needs.

Pilot 1 has been inevitably impacted not only by the technical challenges but also by the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Restrictions in deployment and implementation have been taken place in the past months; some day care centers are still closed; vaccination campaigns are not yet completed and it has been complicated to involve users, especially patients in the current context we live in, where people feels less save. But these challenges have also stimulated PROCare4Life partners to find new solutions. In this way, we have created a COVID-19 protocol with measures and policies we update and share with all members; we have extended the iterative testing period to increase the number of participants and we are reinforcing dissemination actions through our website and brochures.

Let’s keep working!

The content of this post is based on the joint work reflected in deliverable D6.1 – PROCare4Life User Iterative Feedback and compiled by Madeline Beglinger, virtual fellow at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN, (USA) and Mayca Marín at Asociación Parkinson Madrid (Spain). Asociación Parkinson Madrid (APM)is part of the PROCare4Life project and leads Work Package 2 on user requirements and scenarios. APM also contributes to the development of the pilots providing users and deciding on the assessment protocols to be used to collect feedback and impact of the project.