In May we enrolled Virtual Motor Examinations (VME) on the Verily Study Watch. The VME consists of a set of eight scheduled tasks which participants perform weekly from their home. Four hundred and four (404) of our participants enthusiastically agreed to participate in this new addition to the study. Read more about the VME and how it is going so far below.
Why did we add the VME?
Unobtrusive data collection with wearable devices, such as the Verily Study Watch, have the potential to provide a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the presentation and progression of Parkinson’s disease. In addition to these unstructured data, standardized tasks can provide complimentary insight into the status of a person’s motor function in real-world settings. These real-world exams can be conducted more frequently than clinic exams, providing better insight into each person’s function over time.
What do the VME entail?
The VME consists of a set of eight scheduled tasks, provided by the Verily Study Watch. During each in-clinic visits participants will complete the VME in OFF state. Furthermore, triggered by an alert provided by the Verily Study Watch, during follow-up participants will be asked to perform the set of eight simple tasks at home and rate their own performance. The eight tasks are:
- Tap watch
- Seated rest
- Arm raise
- Hand open and close
- Arm twist
- Foot stomp
- Up and go
- Stand still
The VME needs to be performed once every week, twice on the same day. For participants that are taking Parkinson’s medication the VME needs to be performed before and after first Parkinson’s medication intake in the morning. Together this takes between 15 minutes of their time. Participants can self-select on which day they want to perform the tasks.
If participants don’t want to perform the task, they don't need to. Participants are given the opportunity to either postpone performing these scheduled tasks until a more convenient time for them or to opt out for that week by declining the reminders they will receive on the Watch. The change over time for each individual is the most important outcome.
How is it going so far?
So far, the VME are going great. After a period of implementation, during which we provided the participants with a training guide, an educational video and support via our helpdesk, participants are now actively carrying out the tasks weekly. Meanwhile they have completed a total of 5,804 Virtual Motor Examinations!
A survey on how participants experience the VME was completed by 166 participants. Ninety-one percent of them think the VME are very easy or easy to carry out. Only three participants said they consider carrying out the tasks a burden. For these participants we provide the option to carry out the VME less frequently in order to minimalize the burden they experience. The VME are optional for participants of the Personalized Parkinson Project, so people are also free to drop-out if they feel the VME are too much for them. Fortunately, this seems to rarely be the case. Some participants even asked for more intensive tasks, like abdominal muscle exercises!
Image: display of the task 'arm raise'
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