Assessing Older Adults’ Perceptions of Sensor Data and Designing Visual Displays for Ambient Environments
29 April 2013
accepted: 02 April 2013
20 January 2018 (online)
Introduction: This article is part of the Focus Theme of Methods of Information in Medicine on “Using Data from Ambient Assisted Living and Smart Homes in Electronic Health Records“.
Objectives: Our objectives were to: 1) characterize older adult participants’ perceived usefulness of in-home sensor data and 2) develop novel visual displays for sensor data from Ambient Assisted Living environments that can become part of electronic health records.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with community-dwelling older adult participants during three and six-month visits. We engaged participants in two design iterations by soliciting feedback about display types and visual displays of simulated data related to a fall scenario. Interview transcripts were analyzed to identify themes related to perceived usefulness of sensor data.
Results: Thematic analysis identified three themes: perceived usefulness of sensor data for managing health; factors that affect perceived usefulness of sensor data and; perceived usefulness of visual displays. Visual displays were cited as potentially useful for family members and health care providers. Three novel visual displays were created based on interview results, design guidelines derived from prior AAL research, and principles of graphic design theory.
Conclusions: Participants identified potential uses of personal activity data for monitoring health status and capturing early signs of illness. One area for future research is to determine how visual displays of AAL data might be utilized to connect family members and health care providers through shared understanding of activity levels versus a more simplified view of self-management. Connecting informal and formal caregiving networks may facilitate better communication between older adults, family members and health care providers for shared decision-making.
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