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Title: Occupational therapists’ views of using a virtual reality interior design application within the pre-discharge home visit process
Authors: Atwal, A
Money, A
Harvey, M
Keywords: Occupational therapy;Pre-discharge home visits;Virtual reality;3D;Patient collaboration;Patient
Issue Date: 2014
Citation: Journal of Medical Internet Research, 16 (2): e283, 2014
Abstract: Background: A key role of Occupational Therapists (OTs) is to carry out pre-discharge home visits (PHV) and propose appropriate adaptations to the home environment, to enable patients to function independently after hospital-home discharge. However, research shows that more than 50% of specialist equipment installed as part of home adaptations is not used by patients. A key reason for this is that decisions about home adaptations are often made without adequate collaboration and consultation with the patient. Consequently, there is an urgent need to seek out new and innovative uses of technology to facilitate patient/practitioner collaboration, engagement and shared decision making in the PHV process. Virtual reality interior design applications (VRIDAs) primarily allow users to simulate the home environment and visualise changes prior to implementing them. Customised VRIDAs, which also model specialist occupational therapy equipment, could become a valuable tool to facilitate improved patient/practitioner collaboration if developed effectively and integrated into the PHV process. Objective: To explore the perceptions of occupational therapists with regards to using VRIDAs as an assistive tool within the PHV process. Methods: Task-oriented interactive usability sessions, utilising the think-aloud protocol and subsequent semi-structured interviews were carried out with seven Occupational Therapists who possessed significant experience across a range of clinical settings. Template analysis was carried out on the think-aloud and interview data. Analysis was both inductive and driven by theory, centring around the parameters that impact upon the acceptance, adoption and use of this technology in practice as indicated by the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). Results: OTs’ perceptions were identified relating to three core themes: (1) perceived usefulness (PU), (2) perceived ease of use (PEoU), and (3) actual use (AU). Regarding PU, OTs believed VRIDAs had promising potential to increase understanding, enrich communications and patient involvement, and improved patient/practitioner shared understanding. However, it was unlikely that VRIDAs would be suitable for use with cognitively impaired patients. For PEoU, all OTs were able to use the software and complete the tasks successfully, however, participants noted numerous specialist equipment items that could be added to the furniture library. AU perceptions were positive regarding use of the application across a range of clinical settings including children/young adults, long-term conditions, neurology, older adults, and social services. However, some “fine tuning” may be necessary if the application is to be optimally used in practice. Conclusions: Participants perceived the use of VRIDAs in practice would enhance levels of patient/practitioner collaboration and provide a much needed mechanism via which patients are empowered to become more equal partners in decisions made about their care. Further research is needed to explore patient perceptions of VRIDAs, to make necessary customisations accordingly, and to explore deployment of the application in a collaborative patient/practitioner-based context.
Description: This article has been made available through the Brunel Open Access Publishing Fund.
ISSN: 1439-4456
Appears in Collections:Brunel OA Publishing Fund
Dept of Computer Science Research Papers

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