Research

BEST is excited to share information regarding research studies conducted that included one or more of the apps in the BEST Suite. Here we include studies conducted at Coastline College, Dominican University, and through a grant received from the Infinite Hero Foundation.

Research results

Demonstrating the Learning, Use, and Efficacy of Smart Device Apps for Brain Injury Survivors

The Infinite Hero Foundation funded a research project to evaluate the BEST Online App Training Program designed to help Veterans, their caregivers, and professionals learn to integrate specific apps into their daily routines at home, school, and work. The apps included in the training can help with cognitive issues commonly experienced by those living with TBI and/or PTSD (e.g., energy management, goal-setting, notetaking, organization). This project expanded a model piloted at the Palo Alto VA.

Purpose of the Study

This study intends to expand upon findings from previous pilot research and further the nascent body of research regarding the use of smartphone apps as a cognitive prosthetic.

Hypotheses

  1. Veterans with TBI and/or PTSD can effectively learn to use smartphoneapps.
  2. Smart phone apps will be effective in improving functional outcomes

Results

The results indicated that all participants received proficiency scores of 70% or higher on the post-assessment evaluation, which indicates that they were able to successfully learn how to use their chosen app(s).

In terms of the efficacy of the Smart Device apps on improving functional outcomes, the results suggested that participants experienced a significant increase in overall well being and life satisfaction. However, there was a significant increase in interference in daily/valued activities. Furthermore, there were significant decreases in cognitive and mental health functioning.

Managing Fatigue with Technology for Individuals with MS

This project was conducted at Dominican University as part of their Occupational Therapy MS Capstone Project. The Capstone students were interested to learn how the app would impact individuals living with multiple sclerosis.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether a mHealth app will result in a decrease in fatigue and an increase in adherence of energy conservation techniques for adults with MS.

Results

  • Two weeks pre-post results revealed a significant reduction in overall fatigue for all 7 participants that utilized energy conservation and PMD app.
  • Significant Reduction in the average level of fatigue was indicated among two of the three categories of the MFIS (physical at .02, cognitive at .001) but not so much psychosocial.
  • PMD app was more successful in increasing satisfaction in the task than performance based off the COPM. This indicates an increase in participant’s self rated ability to complete their chosen task with more satisfaction.

Demonstrating the Learning of the RMG App In A Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program: A Pilot Study

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to evaluate whether or not differing levels of brain injury survivors have the functional and cognitive ability to learn how to use the ReachMyGoals (RMG) App. Specifically, the research investigators aimed to measure participants’ procedural accuracy in following instructions to perform specific functions on the app.

Research Questions & Hypothesis

  1. Can individuals living with an ABI learn to use the RMG App?
  2. If individuals have an ABI, they can learn how to use the RMG App.

Results

The results suggest that individuals living with an acquired brain injury will vary in their ability to learn how to use the RMG App. Limitations of the current study include a small sample size. Future research should comprise a larger selection of participants and include a control group to evaluate the effectiveness of video tutorial training on participants’ learning of the RMG App.

The post-test is yet another limitation as it is not an accurate assessment of participants’ learning. In future studies, reports generated from the app should be revised to include all information assessed for in the post-test. Findings yielded from the current pilot study are intended to inform future studies that assess learning, utilization, and implementation of the RMG App in the daily lives of individuals with brain injury.

Learning to implement the ManageMyFatigue App in brain injury rehabilitation

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the current study is to build on previous research on learning how to use assistive technology by brain injury survivors.11 Our goal is to demonstrate that individuals with differing levels of brain injury have the functional and cognitive ability to learn how to navigate the ManageMyFatigue (MMF) App.

Research Questions & Hypothesis

  1. Can individuals living with an acquired brain injury learn how to use the MMF App in their daily lives?
  2. If individuals have an acquired brain injury, they can learn how to use the MMF App.

Results

The current study sought to build on a previous pilot research demonstrating the functional and cognitive ability of individuals with brain injury to learn how to use the MMF App.11  Our initial research found post-test evaluation rates for the following in total proficiency: Tier 1, 71%; Tier 2, 100%; Tier 3, 86%; Tier 4, 100%. Similarly, our current research found the following: Tier 1, 74%; Tier 2, 78%; Tier 3, 86%; Tier 4, 100%.

Our results indicate that individuals with differing levels of brain injury demonstrate the capacity to learn to use, and implement the MMF App in recognizing and managing cognitive fatigue. Moreover, our results indicate that learning performance decreases as more complex tasks within the app are demanded. For example, setting up basic settings and routine tasks appears to be easier than planning an entire day. Interestingly, the current research elucidates the ability of some individuals to learn how to navigate the app, even in the absence of training; a finding not previously examined. Although this may simply be the result of advanced technology skills, it is worth noting the MMF App’s relative ease of use.

Demonstrating the use of technology in brain injury rehabilitation: The ManageMyFatigue App

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the current study is to evaluate whether or not differing levels of brain injury survivors have the functional and cognitive ability to learn how to navigate the ManageMyFatigue (MMF) App.

Research Questions & Hypothesis

  1. Can individuals living with an acquired brain injury learn how to use the MMF App in their daily lives?
  2. If individuals have an acquired brain injury, they can learn how to use the MMF App.

Results

Of the four students selected, the Tier 4 and the Tier 2 students completed the post-test with 100% accuracy. One student (Tier 3) was able to complete 100% of the first set of tasks, before her performance dropped to 88% and 71% on the second and third set, respectively. The Tier 1 student accurately performed 100% of the first set of tasks. His performance dropped to 55% and 57% on the second and third set, respectively.