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Pitt, UPMC Team Identifies Barriers to – and Training Needs for – Rehabilitation Clinicians’ Use of Mainstream Wireless Technologies in Practice

April 2, 2024

A team of researchers from Pitt, UPMC, and Kansas City University published “Rehabilitation clinicians' use of mainstream wireless technologies in practice: a scoping review” in February 2024.

Brad Dicianno, MD, UPMC Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dan Ding, PhD, University of Pittsburgh Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology (RST), Lindsey Morris, OTD, OTR/L, Pitt RST, and Yifan Xiang, Pitt undergraduate student, worked along with Angad Salh, Kansas City University medical student, to publish the study in the peer-reviewed journal Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology.

This scoping review was conducted to understand the barriers, facilitators, and education and training needs of rehabilitation clinicians in their use of mainstream wireless technologies (MWT) to support people with disabilities and older adults. It was also conducted to understand the functional skills of clients that were targeted with MWT use.

The review was reported using PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews) and the Population (or Participants)/Concept/Context) framework. The team searched PubMed; ProQuest to access APA PsycINFO; Web of Science Core Collection; and EBSCOhost to access Cumulated Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Ovid MEDLINE ALL, and Education Resources Information Center (ERIC).

Articles published between 2015 and 2022 were retrieved, and a total of 90 articles were included. Most interventions were apps, smartphones, and tablets; were geared toward adults; and targeted motor, cognitive, and speech skills. An infographic on barriers and facilitators was generated as a decision support tool for clinicians when implementing MWT. The topic, format, timing, and source of information clinicians need are also delineated.

The research team concluded thatMWT such as apps, smartphones, and tablets are being used by rehabilitation clinicians to address motor, cognitive, and speech skills, most commonly in adults. Clinicians voice a need for more education and training. Barriers and facilitators exist at the clinician-, technology-, client-, institution-, and policy levels.

Their full scoping review also discusses implications of findings on policy, technology development, and future research.

Read more.