Teleassessments for enrollment of adults with physical or mobility disability in a home-based exercise trial in response to covid-19: Usability study

Academic Article


  • Background: The Scale-Up Project Evaluating Responsiveness to Home Exercise And Lifestyle Tele-Health (SUPER-HEALTH) initiative is a large randomized controlled study that aims to overcome logistical barriers to exercise via telehealth for people with physical disabilities. However, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment was halted due to limited operations at the testing site, which included no onsite visits that involved participant data collection. In response to the limited operations, a modified data collection protocol was developed for virtual enrollment of study participants. Objective: This paper presents feasibility data on using teleassessments to enroll people with mobility impairment into a home-based exercise trial. Methods: The modified protocol replaced onsite enrollment and data collection visits with teleassessments using a computer tablet and testing equipment that was shipped to the participants'home address prior to the synchronous teleassessments conducted by an exercise physiologist through Zoom. The participants were mailed a teleassessment toolkit that included a digital blood pressure cuff, spirometer, hand dynamometer, mini disc cone, and measuring tape (to complete standardized testing). The teleassessment measures included resting blood pressure and heart rate, forced vital capacity, grip strength, Five Times Sit to Stand, and Timed Up and Go. Feasibility metrics included technological effectiveness, efficiency, and safety. The technological effectiveness of the telehealth assessment was determined by the percentage of sessions completed without technical issues with ≥90% criteria set a priori. Efficiency was measured by a session duration of ≤2 hours. Safety was measured by the number of adverse events related to the teleassessments reported. Results: Data from 36 participants were included in this feasibility study, and 34 (94%) participants completed all teleassessments without technical issues. For efficiency, the teleassessment sessions were completed in a mean time of 65 minutes and a maximum session length of 110 minutes. There were no adverse events reported to indicate concerns with the safety of teleassessments. Conclusions: The modified teleassessment protocol, in response to COVID-19 restrictions, may be a feasible process for enrolling adults with mobility impairment into a home exercise trial who otherwise would have not been able to participate.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wilroy J; Lai B; Currie M; Young HJ; Thirumalai M; Mehta T; Giannone J; Rimmer J
  • Volume

  • 5
  • Issue

  • 11