Study participant self-installed deployment of a home-based digital assessment platform for dementia research

Sarah Gothard, Michael Nunnerley, Nathaniel Rodrigues, Chao Yi Wu, Nora Mattek, Adriana Seelye, Jeffrey A. Kaye, Zachary Beattie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The Oregon Center for Aging & Technology (ORCATECH) has developed, refined, and deployed to hundreds of diverse older adults a home-based research platform for providing assessment of cognition and multiple domains of function. The pandemic has brought to the forefront the necessity of this type of remotely conducted research. Even absent a pandemic, there are millions of people who are shut-out of participating in research because of limitations of mobility, distance, and study partner support. Hence, work is being done to make the ORCATECH platform fully self-installable by research participants in their homes using Self-installation Instruction Modules (SIMs) which consist of video tutorials, images, and step-by-step instructions. METHOD: We developed and sent seven older adults residing in seven separate residences a web-link to the SIMs. The participants were enrolled in the Aging Well Study which utilizes the ORCATECH platform's hub computer and electronic pillbox to remotely assess cognition and function. Time to complete installation was captured within the SIMs interface. Labeled and activated technologies were sent to participants' homes prior to the link being distributed. A survey was sent to participants after the completion of installation for the purpose of gathering feedback about the SIMs experience. RESULT: The seven participants include two married and five single person homes (age 73.9(SD=7.1) years, education 17(SD=3) years, 5 women, 5 mild cognitive impairment (MCI)(Clinical Dementia Rating=0.5)). All participants successfully installed their technologies using the SIMs. The SIMS were viewed on four different device types (tablet, smart phone, laptop, desktop). Mean time to install both technologies was 20.0(SD=13.7) minutes for those with MCI; 23.7(SD=10.9) minutes for healthy controls. Participants reported the SIMs was easy to read, hear, and navigate. CONCLUSION: Results suggest that it is feasible for older adults of varying ages and cognitive function to install technologies for the purpose of remote data collection without any study personnel being physically present in the home. Further studies are necessary to better understand the impacts of diverse residence and resident characteristics (e.g., home layout, technical proficiency, physical abilities) on a volunteer's ability to self-install the technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e055724
JournalAlzheimer's & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer's Association
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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