Consumer Wearable Deployments in Actigraphy Research: Evaluation of an Observational Study.

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Consumer Wearable Deployments in Actigraphy Research: Evaluation of an Observational Study.

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2019 06 24;7(6):e12190

Authors: Duignan C, Slevin P, Sett N, Caulfield B

BACKGROUND: Consumer wearables can provide a practical and accessible method of data collection in actigraphy research. However, as this area continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important for researchers to be aware of the many challenges facing the capture of quality data using consumer wearables.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to (1) present the challenges encountered by a research team in actigraphy data collection using a consumer wearable and (2) present considerations for researchers to apply in the pursuit of robust data using this approach.
METHODS: The Nokia Go was deployed to 33 elite Gaelic footballers from a single team for a planned period of 14 weeks. A bring-your-own-device model was employed for this study where the Health Mate app was downloaded on participants’ personal mobile phones and connected to the Nokia Go via Bluetooth. Retrospective evaluation of the researcher and participant experience was conducted through transactional data such as study logs and email correspondence. The participant experience of the data collection process was further explored through the design of a 34-question survey utilizing aspects of the Technology Acceptance Model.
RESULTS: Researcher challenges included device disconnection, logistics and monitoring, and rectifying of technical issues. Participant challenges included device syncing, loss of the device, and wear issues, particularly during contact sport. Following disconnection issues, the data collection period was defined as 87 days for which there were 18 remaining participants. Average wear time was 79 out of 87 days (90%) and 20.8 hours per day. The participant survey found mainly positive results regarding device comfort, perceived ease of use, and perceived usefulness.
CONCLUSIONS: Although this study did not encounter some of the common published barriers to wearable data collection, our experience was impacted by technical issues such as disconnection and syncing challenges, practical considerations such as loss of the device, issues with personal mobile phones in the bring-your-own-device model, and the logistics and resources required to ensure a smooth data collection with an active cohort. Recommendations for achieving high-quality data are made for readers to consider in the deployment of consumer wearables in research.

PMID: 31237237 [PubMed – in process]