AN EXPLORATION OF THE FEASIBILITY AND ACCEPTABILITY OF WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY IN PARKINSON’S DISEASE

Abstract Ref: 
0255

Lorna Kenny1,Clíona O’Riordan1, TonyWilkinson2,Mary O’Sullivan2, Janis Agurjanovs3,
Salvatore Tedesco4,Marco Sica4,Colum Crowe4, John Barton4, Suzanne Timmons1
1Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation,University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
2Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, Cork Branch, Cork, Ireland
3Department of Accounting, Finance and Information Systems, Cork University Business School,
Cork, Ireland
4Tyndall National Institute,University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

Background: Wearable technology is increasingly used to diagnose, monitor and manage
neurological disorders such as Parkinson’sDisease (PD).This study aims to gain information
about the views and needs of people with Parkinson’s (PwP’s) regarding wearable technology
for monitoring the disease and assisting its management.

Methods: The study employed a mixed methods parallel design, wherein focus-groups
and questionnaires were concurrently conducted with people with PwP’s in Munster.
Questionnaires and topic guides were developed with significant input from PwP’s. The
participants for focus-groups were purposively sampled for variation in PD stage, age (all
>50 years) and sex. Questionnaire and focus-group results were analysed together, using a
pragmatic triangulation protocol.

Results: Thirty-two questionnaires were completed by PwP’s. Four semi-structured focusgroups
were held (n=24 participants). Participants were overall positive about wearable
technology in PD, and perceived benefits in wearable technology for improved management
of symptoms.Wearables should be user-friendly, have an appealing design, and demonstrate
clinical usefulness. Comfort and discrete design were emphasised for greater usability.
The value of sharing information between PwP’s and health professionals for improved
outcomes was highlighted. PwP’s perceived that increased patient data in the form of reliable
information from a wearable device may allow for more accurate management of PD.
Participants also felt that a device could help increase physical activity, and potentially track
compliance with medication. There was little focus on device safety and privacy/ownership
of data. While participants anticipated that there may be challenges for some in wearing a
device, they believed overall potential benefits would outweigh these.

Conclusion: Engagement of PwP’s in the design of wearable technology is vital for the
development of devices that improve the management of PD. This study will directly inform
amulti-country feasibility study of wearable devices for older people, with a particular focus
on the needs of PwP’s.