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Pilot studies should be conducted to help inform and reduce technical problems and improve accuracy prior to evaluating the effectiveness of new tablet interventions
Explanation and example
Our feasibility study of FindMyApps, a digital programme helping people with dementia to find useful apps for self-management and meaningful activities, showed that when people experienced technical problems they were sometimes not able to provide useful feedback about FindMyApps. For instance, some participants did not use the intervention anymore after they encountered technical problems. Even though a development and pilot study were conducted technical problems still occurred, such as: apps not being available anymore, explanation videos which did not work, personal settings not being saved, the button to go back being difficult to find, and links that did not work. To ensure that technical problems are resolved timely and do not interact with the evaluation of the tablet intervention, it is important to monitor for technical barriers by regular contact with people using the intervention in evaluation studies.
ThemesDementia FindMyApps Meaningful activities Self-management Tablet intervention Technology
Target groupsResearchers developing digital applications Technology developers
Type of evidence
Pilot RCT feasibility study (Beentjes et al., 2020)
Development study FindMyApps (Kerkhof et al., 2019)
First pilot study FindMyApps (Kerkhof et al., 2020)
Beentjes, K.M., Neal, D.P., Kerkhof, Y.J.F., Broeder, C., Moeridjan, Z.D.J., Ettema, T.P., Pelkmans, W., Muller, M.M., Graff, M.J.L., Dröes, R.M.(2020). Impact of the FindMyApps program on people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia and their caregivers; an exploratory pilot randomised controlled trial. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol., Nov 27:1-13. doi.org/10.1080/17483107.2020.1842918
Kerkhof, Y., Kohl, G., Veijer, M., Mangiaracina, F., Bergsma, A., Graff, M., & Dröes, R.-M. (n.d.). Randomised controlled feasibility study of FindMyApps: First evaluation of a tablet-based intervention to promote self-management and meaningful activities in people with mild dementia. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol., 1-15. doi.org/10.1080/17483107.2020.1765420.
Kerkhof, Y., Pelgrum-Keurhorst, M., Mangiaracina, F., Bergsma, A., Vrauwdeunt, G., Graff, M., & Dröes, R.-M. (2019). User-participatory development of FindMyApps; a tool to help people with mild dementia find supportive apps for self-management and meaningful activities. DIGITAL HEALTH, 5, 205520761882294. doi.org/10.1177/2055207618822942