Experiences of therapists using feedback-based technology to improve physical function in rehabilitation settings: a qualitative systematic review

Caitlin Hamilton, Meryl Lovarini, Annie McCluskey, Tarcisio Folly de Campos, Leanne Hassett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: To synthesise therapist experiences of using feedback-based technology for physical rehabilitation through a systematic review of qualitative studies. Methods: Ten electronic databases were searched up to March 2017. Peer reviewed studies that provided qualitative data that met the inclusion criteria were selected. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. Relevant text from each study was extracted including quotes and the author’s interpretations. Data were imported into NVivo for analysis. Text was coded for content, then categorised using a thematic synthesis approach. Results: The search yielded 50,379 records. Of 340 full text articles assessed for eligibility, 12 publications (10 studies) were included. Themes that emerged relating to therapists’ experience of using feedback-based technology in practice were: (1) the benefits of using technology; (2) practicalities of using technology in practice; (3) the need for support; and (4) design to support the use of technology in rehabilitation. Conclusions: Therapists perceive many benefits to using feedback-based technologies in rehabilitation but view it as an addition rather than an alternative to usual therapy. Input from therapists was perceived to be needed for technology to achieve therapeutic benefit. Technology use in practice may be influenced by design limitations or the available support to access and use the technology.Implications for Rehabilitation Therapists perceive technology can be used for benefit as an adjunct to usual therapy with the skilled input of a therapist to assess and monitor patient performance to ensure the “right” quality and quantity of movements for recovery. Technology prescription requires an investment of time and a tailored approach so that its use meets the needs of the individual patient. Support for training, evidence of effectiveness and access to technology is imperative for implementation in practice. Therapists need to work collaboratively with technology developers to improve the design and usability of technologies to better support the rehabilitation process.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1739-1750
    Number of pages12
    JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
    Issue number15
    Early online date7 Mar 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2019


    • experiences
    • physical
    • qualitative
    • Rehabilitation
    • technology
    • therapist


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