The Early Warning Wearable Device (EWWD) Project
Lower-limb joint pain and diabetic peripheral neuropathies are common clinical problems which can disrupt how people move. Consequently, this may cause patients to have difficulty completing activities of daily living, such as walking or stair climbing, and thus increase the likelihood of physical inactivity and accidental falls.
As the number of people suffering from lower-limb joint pain and diabetes is predicted to increase, finding new ways to improve clinical efficiency and reduce healthcare service load is important. The aim of this study is to develop a new smart health solution to improve the accuracy of treatment plans, clinical efficiency and overall patient care. This will be in the form of a home-based intelligent rehabilitation and monitoring platform, using commercially accessible wearable technology. The technology will be driven by computer algorithms that can analyse information about how people move, their symptoms and clinical data to personalise the rehabilitation to the individual.
Here at Cardiff University, we will take part in, and conduct research for the EWWD project to help achieve its aims!
Find out more at ewwd-project.co.uk!
The project will be co-funded by the Interreg France (Channel) England programme with a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contribution of €7.4M.
The Research Plan
We plan to measure people’s movement, symptoms and self-reported health data over time. There will be two parts to data collection:
Study participants will attend the university and, using ‘gold-standard’ technology, we will assess how they move during everyday tasks. This session will then be repeated after a two week period.
This takes place during the two week period between the assessment sessions described in Part 1. Participants will take home and wear up to 3 sensors on their pelvis and legs, as well as foot pressure insoles in their shoes, for 2 hours a day whilst they are walking, exercising or performing activities of daily living. Participants will also be asked to fill in questionnaires about their symptoms, general health and experience of using the technology.
We aim to recruit 183 people with lower-limb musculoskeletal pain, diabetes and people with neither of these conditions, to learn about their movement whilst using the wearable technology. This research will contribute to the creation of the wearable-technology based intelligent rehabilitation and monitoring platform. This platform can then undergo further testing with patients.
Results and Progress
Here at Cardiff, we will contribute to the wider EWWD project by conducting research trials and producing publications. See a brief outline of our work and progress in the list below:
- Knee Osteoarthritis and Wearable Technology Scoping Review: To map and explore the existing evidence of using wearable technology for real-world health assessment in people with knee osteoarthritis, we have conducted a scoping review entitled ‘Applications of Wearable Technology in a Real-Life Setting in People with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Scoping Review’. This has been published in the ‘Journal of Clinical Medicine’ and can be accessed via this link.
- Wearable Technology in the Diabetic Population Scoping Review: A scoping review is also being planned to explore the use of wearable technology in people with Diabetes.
- Wearable Technology Validity and Reliability Study: A study is currently being conducted to determine the validity and test the reliability of different wearable sensors within a healthy population. Data collection commenced for this work in October 2021.
- Highly commended by the Health and Care Research Wales Conference 2021: Our work on the EWWD project was a highly commended entry for the Health and Care Research Wales Conference’s ‘Impact Award’ for 2021. See this link for details.
Dr Mohammad Al-Amri
Senior Research Fellow
Dr Kate Button