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The redesign and re-evaluation of an internet-based telerehabilitation system for the assessment of dysarthria in adults

By Anne J. Hill, Deborah G. Theodoros, Trevor G. Russell and Elizabeth C. Ward

Abstract

A previous study revealed that reliable assessment of dysarthria was feasible. However, that study also revealed a number of system limitations and suggested that technological enhancements and improvements in study design and clinical assessment protocols were needed before validity and reliability of assessment of dysarthria via telerehabilitation could be confirmed. In the current study, improvements in technology, study design, and clinical assessment protocols were implemented in order to re-examine the validity and reliability of assessing and diagnosing dysarthria via the telerehabilitation medium. The aim of this study was to explore the validity and reliability of assessing dysarthria using both formal standardized and informal assessments via a purpose-built telerehabilitation system. Twenty-four participants with an acquired dysarthria were assessed simultaneously via telerehabilitation and face-to-face (FTF) on a battery of assessments. A custom-built telerehabilitation system enabled real-time telerehabilitation assessment over a 128 Kbps Internet connection. Data analysis included an analysis of strength of agreement between the two methods using percentage agreement and weighted Κ statistics. Inter-rater and intrarater reliability were also examined for both the FTF and telerehabilitation-led assessments. Good strength of agreement was found between the FTF and telerehabilitation assessment methods. High intrarater and inter-rater reliability within both the FTF and telerehabilitation assessment methods supported these findings. Participants reported high overall satisfaction in the telerehabilitation environment. This study describes the improvements made to the telerehabilitation system reported previously and confirms that valid and reliable assessment of dysarthria using both standardized and informal assessments over the Internet is possible using this system

Topics: Health Care Sciences & Services, Health Care Sciences & Services, C1, 920107 Hearing, Vision, Speech and Their Disorders, 110321 Rehabilitation and Therapy (excl. Physiotherapy)
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1089/tmj.2009.0015
OAI identifier: oai:espace.library.uq.edu.au:UQ:189972

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