A home evaluation is the process of documenting dimensions of rooms and hallways, door widths, and obstacles to prepare for a person to return home from inpatient rehabilitation. Currently clinicians will ask a patient’s family member to complete a home evaluation on a paper form. Based upon the information collected during the home evaluation, the therapist will then order necessary Durable Medical Equipment (DME) which may include a bed, a manual or power wheelchair, a commode, and tub bench to allow as much independence as possible. If a home evaluation is not accurate, or not completed, the person may receive equipment that is not usable. Smart technology may make home evaluations easier to complete and provide clinicians with more accurate and reliable measurements, which will allow better decisions to be made when ordering DME. This project will develop, test, and disseminate an efficient and accurate home evaluation method that uses a mobile application (app) installed on a smart phone or tablet to create a precise floor plan. Once the app user creates the floor plan, the user or a therapist can ‘fit’ objects that represent various DME from a database in the app on to the floor plan and make appropriate recommendations.
This project funded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation is a continuation of a 1-year pilot project in which we partnered with a mobile app developer, Sensopia, to adapt their existing app, MagicPlan, to perform home evaluations. We developed the DME database which can be accessed through drop-down menus. Going forward, we will expand the database, develop and test on-line educational modules for the app, and test the app. To test the educational modules, we will develop questionnaires to determine which method app users prefer. Initially, the educational modules will be tested by clinicians and family members of patients at Mount Sinai. Then, we will test use of the app for home evaluation with four rehabilitation facilities located around the country and with a local community-based non-profit organization involved with care in the home for persons with disabilities. We will use feedback from the community partners to develop the final versions of the education modules which will be built into the mobile app and made available for general use. These additions will allow the mobile application to be self-sustainable without the need for further intervention by the development team.
Thomas Bryce, MD is the principal investigator of this project.