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Trainee Occupational Therapists Scoring the Barthel ADL


Within medical applications there are two main types of information design; paper-based and digital information [1]. As technology is constantly changing, information within healthcare management and delivery is continually being transitioned from traditional paper documents to digital and online resources. Activity of Daily Living (ADL) charts are still predominantly paper based and are therefore prone to “human error” [2]. In light of this, an investigation has taken place into the design for reducing the amount of human error, between a paper based ADL, specifically the Barthel Index, and the same ADL created digitally. The digital ADL was developed as an online platform as this offers the best method of data capture for a large group of participants all together [3]. The aim of the study was to evaluate the usability of the Barthel Index ADL in paper format and then reproduce the same ADL digitally. This paper presents the findings of a study involving 26 participants who were familiar with ADL charts, and used three scenarios requiring them to complete both a paper ADL and a digital ADL. An evaluation was undertaken to ascertain if there were any ‘human errors’ in completing the paper ADL and also to find similarities/differences through using the digital ADL. The results from the study indicated that 22/26 participants agreed that the digital ADL was better, if not the same as a paper based ADL. Further results indicated that participants rate highly the added benefit of the digital ADL being easy to use and also that calculation of assessment scores were performed automatically. Statistically the digital BI offered a 100 % correction rate in the total calculation, in comparison to the paper based BI where it is more common for users to make mathematical calculation errors. Therefore in order to minimise handwriting and calculation errors, the digital BI proved superior than the traditional paper based method.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth Martin.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Education & Training.

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Martin, E., Nugent, C., Bond, R. et al. Trainee Occupational Therapists Scoring the Barthel ADL. J Med Syst 39, 93 (2015).

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  • Activity of daily living
  • Barthel index
  • Digital healthcare provision
  • Digital ADL