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Journal Description

JMIR Aging (JA, Founding Editor-in-chief: Jing Wang, Professor and Vice Dean for Research, Hugh Roy Cullen Professor, UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, San Antonio, TX, USA) is an open access journal, focusing on technologies, medical devices, apps, engineering, informatics applications and patient education for medicine and nursing, education, preventative interventions and clinical care / home care for elderly populations. In addition, aging-focused big data analytics using data from electronic health record systems, health insurance databases, federal reimbursement databases (e.g. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid), and other large databases are also welcome. 

This journal is read by clinicians, nurses/allied health professionals, informal caregivers and patients alike and have (as all JMIR journals) a focus on readable and applied science reporting the design and evaluation of health innovations and emerging technologies. We publish original research, viewpoints, and reviews (both literature reviews and medical device/technology/app reviews).

Articles are carefully copyedited and XML-tagged, ready for submission in PubMed Central. The journal is indexed in PMC and PubMed. Upon acceptance, an article processing fee will apply.

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Recent Articles:

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: Sabinevenerp; URL: https://pixabay.com/photos/hand-woman-adult-hands-elderly-3667028/; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Descriptive Evaluation and Accuracy of a Mobile App to Assess Fall Risk in Seniors: Retrospective Case-Control Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Fall-risk assessment is complex. Based on current scientific evidence, a multifactorial approach, including the analysis of physical performance, gait parameters, and both extrinsic and intrinsic risk factors, is highly recommended. A smartphone-based app was designed to assess the individual risk of falling with a score that combines multiple fall-risk factors into one comprehensive metric using the previously listed determinants. Objective: This study provides a descriptive evaluation of the designed fall-risk score as well as an analysis of the app’s discriminative ability based on real-world data. Methods: Anonymous data from 242 seniors was analyzed retrospectively. Data was collected between June 2018 and May 2019 using the fall-risk assessment app. First, we provided a descriptive statistical analysis of the underlying dataset. Subsequently, multiple learning models (Logistic Regression, Gaussian Naive Bayes, Gradient Boosting, Support Vector Classification, and Random Forest Regression) were trained on the dataset to obtain optimal decision boundaries. The receiver operating curve with its corresponding area under the curve (AUC) and sensitivity were the primary performance metrics utilized to assess the fall-risk score's ability to discriminate fallers from nonfallers. For the sake of completeness, specificity, precision, and overall accuracy were also provided for each model. Results: Out of 242 participants with a mean age of 84.6 years old (SD 6.7), 139 (57.4%) reported no previous falls (nonfaller), while 103 (42.5%) reported a previous fall (faller). The average fall risk was 29.5 points (SD 12.4). The performance metrics for the Logistic Regression Model were AUC=0.9, sensitivity=100%, specificity=52%, and accuracy=73%. The performance metrics for the Gaussian Naive Bayes Model were AUC=0.9, sensitivity=100%, specificity=52%, and accuracy=73%. The performance metrics for the Gradient Boosting Model were AUC=0.85, sensitivity=88%, specificity=62%, and accuracy=73%. The performance metrics for the Support Vector Classification Model were AUC=0.84, sensitivity=88%, specificity=67%, and accuracy=76%. The performance metrics for the Random Forest Model were AUC=0.84, sensitivity=88%, specificity=57%, and accuracy=70%. Conclusions: Descriptive statistics for the dataset were provided as comparison and reference values. The fall-risk score exhibited a high discriminative ability to distinguish fallers from nonfallers, irrespective of the learning model evaluated. The models had an average AUC of 0.86, an average sensitivity of 93%, and an average specificity of 58%. Average overall accuracy was 73%. Thus, the fall-risk app has the potential to support caretakers in easily conducting a valid fall-risk assessment. The fall-risk score’s prospective accuracy will be further validated in a prospective trial.

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: katemangostar; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/close-up-business-lady-using-gadget-while-examining-document_3798984.htm#page=3&query=phone&position=4; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    A Dual-Pronged Approach to Improving Heart Failure Outcomes: A Quality Improvement Project

    Abstract:

    : Presently, 6.5 million Americans are living with heart failure (HF). These patients are expected to follow a complex self-management regimen at home. Several demographic and psychosocial factors limit patients with HF in following the prescribed self-management recommendations at home. Poor self-care is associated with increased hospital readmissions. Under the Affordable Care Act, there are financial implications related to hospital readmissions for hospitals and programs such as the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) in Pinellas County, Florida. Previous studies and systematic reviews demonstrated improvement in self-management and quality of life (QoL) in patients with HF with structured telephone support (STS) and SMS text messaging. : This study aimed to evaluate the effects of STS and SMS on self-care, knowledge, medication adherence, and QoL of patients with HF. : A prospective quality improvement project using a pre-post design was implemented. Data were collected at baseline, 30 days, and 3 months from 51 patients with HF who were enrolled in PACE in Pinellas County, Florida. All participants received STS and SMS for 30 days. The feasibility and sustained benefit of using STS and SMS was assessed at a 3-month follow-up. : A paired t test was used to compare the mean difference in HF outcomes at the baseline and 30-day follow-up, which demonstrated improved HF self-care maintenance (t 49=0.66; P=.01), HF knowledge (t 49=0.71; P=.01), medication adherence (t 49=0.92; P=.01), and physical and mental health measured using Short-Form-12 (SF-12; t 49=0.81; P=.01). The results also demonstrated the sustained benefit with improved HF self-care maintenance, self-care management, self-care confidence, knowledge, medication adherence, and physical and mental health (SF-12) at 3 months with P<.05 for all outcomes. Living status and social support had a strong correlation with HF outcomes. Younger participants (aged less than 65 years) performed extremely well compared with older adults. : STS and SMS were feasible to use among PACE participants with sustained benefits at 3 months. Implementing STS and SMS may serve as viable options to improve HF outcomes. Improving outcomes with HF affects hospital systems and the agencies that monitor and provide care for outpatients and those in independent or assisted-living facilities. Investigating viable options and support for implementation will improve outcomes.

  • Patients with slight dementia receiving services in a Chinese nursing home. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://aging.jmir.org/2020/1/e15290/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Existing Mobile Phone Apps for Self-Care Management of People With Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias: Systematic Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Alzheimer disease and related dementias (AD/RD) are progressive neurocognitive disorders that currently affect approximately 50 million people worldwide. Mobile phone apps have been well-integrated into daily lives and can be used to deliver and promote health care. There is an increase in the use of technology to provide care and support to AD/RD patients and their families. Objective: This study aimed to review apps designed for AD/RD patients and analyze the benefits of, and challenges to, such technological solutions. Methods: A systematic approach was applied to review the availability, content, features, and quality of mobile phone apps to support self-care among AD/RD patients. Results: The initial search for this review was conducted in January 2019, and the screening and analysis of the included apps were completed in May 2019. A total of 14 apps were included from an initial search of 245 apps. The top 3 features were alert (9/14, 64%), self-care tips (6/14, 42%), and social networking capacity (5/14, 35%). On average, the readability of the apps was a tenth-grade reading level (SD 3.06). The overall quality was 3.71 out of 5 (SD 1.37). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that currently available apps for AD/RD patients may not meet complex needs and may be challenging to use, given the possible impaired communication ability associated with AD/RD. Therefore, high-quality apps need to be developed and rigorously evaluated for feasibility and efficacy.

  • An intelligent assistant interface (montage). Source: The Authors / Unsplash (Jakob Owens); Copyright: The Authors; URL: https://aging.jmir.org/2019/2/e15381; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Exploring Older Adults’ Beliefs About the Use of Intelligent Assistants for Consumer Health Information Management: A Participatory Design Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Intelligent assistants (IAs), also known as intelligent agents, use artificial intelligence to help users achieve a goal or complete a task. IAs represent a potential solution for providing older adults with individualized assistance at home, for example, to reduce social isolation, serve as memory aids, or help with disease management. However, to design IAs for health that are beneficial and accepted by older adults, it is important to understand their beliefs about IAs, how they would like to interact with IAs for consumer health, and how they desire to integrate IAs into their homes. Objective: We explore older adults’ mental models and beliefs about IAs, the tasks they want IAs to support, and how they would like to interact with IAs for consumer health. For the purpose of this study, we focus on IAs in the context of consumer health information management and search. Methods: We present findings from an exploratory, qualitative study that investigated older adults’ perspectives of IAs that aid with consumer health information search and management tasks. Eighteen older adults participated in a multiphase, participatory design workshop in which we engaged them in discussion, brainstorming, and design activities that helped us identify their current challenges managing and finding health information at home. We also explored their beliefs and ideas for an IA to assist them with consumer health tasks. We used participatory design activities to identify areas in which they felt IAs might be useful, but also to uncover the reasoning behind the ideas they presented. Discussions were audio-recorded and later transcribed. We compiled design artifacts collected during the study to supplement researcher transcripts and notes. Thematic analysis was used to analyze data. Results: We found that participants saw IAs as potentially useful for providing recommendations, facilitating collaboration between themselves and other caregivers, and for alerts of serious illness. However, they also desired familiar and natural interactions with IAs (eg, using voice) that could, if need be, provide fluid and unconstrained interactions, reason about their symptoms, and provide information or advice. Other participants discussed the need for flexible IAs that could be used by those with low technical resources or skills. Conclusions: From our findings, we present a discussion of three key components of participants’ mental models, including the people, behaviors, and interactions they described that were important for IAs for consumer health information management and seeking. We then discuss the role of access, transparency, caregivers, and autonomy in design for addressing participants’ concerns about privacy and trust as well as its role in assisting others that may interact with an IA on the older adults’ behalf.

  • Source: Unsplash; Copyright: JD Mason; URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/13_7xGYBb7c; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Innovative Assisted Living Tools, Remote Monitoring Technologies, Artificial Intelligence-Driven Solutions, and Robotic Systems for Aging Societies:...

    Abstract:

    Background: The increase in life expectancy and recent advancements in technology and medical science have changed the way we deliver health services to the aging societies. Evidence suggests that home telemonitoring can significantly decrease the number of readmissions, and continuous monitoring of older adults’ daily activities and health-related issues might prevent medical emergencies. Objective: The primary objective of this review was to identify advances in assistive technology devices for seniors and aging-in-place technology and to determine the level of evidence for research on remote patient monitoring, smart homes, telecare, and artificially intelligent monitoring systems. Methods: A literature review was conducted using Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature Plus, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Xplore, ProQuest Central, Scopus, and Science Direct. Publications related to older people’s care, independent living, and novel assistive technologies were included in the study. Results: A total of 91 publications met the inclusion criteria. In total, four themes emerged from the data: technology acceptance and readiness, novel patient monitoring and smart home technologies, intelligent algorithm and software engineering, and robotics technologies. The results revealed that most studies had poor reference standards without an explicit critical appraisal. Conclusions: The use of ubiquitous in-home monitoring and smart technologies for aged people’s care will increase their independence and the health care services available to them as well as improve frail elderly people’s health care outcomes. This review identified four different themes that require different conceptual approaches to solution development. Although the engineering teams were focused on prototype and algorithm development, the medical science teams were concentrated on outcome research. We also identified the need to develop custom technology solutions for different aging societies. The convergence of medicine and informatics could lead to the development of new interdisciplinary research models and new assistive products for the care of older adults.

  • Source: iStock by Getty Images; Copyright: skynesher; URL: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/happy-senior-woman-using-laptop-while-relaxing-at-home-gm862279014-142865791; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Perceptions of the Diabetes Online Community’s Credibility, Social Capital, and Help and Harm: Cross-Sectional Comparison Between Baby Boomers and Younger...

    Abstract:

    Background: The use of online health communities such as the diabetes online community (DOC) is growing. Individuals who engage in the DOC are able to interact with peers who have the same medical condition. It is not known if older adults are perceiving the DOC differently compared with younger adults. Methods: This study represents a subset of participants from a larger study of DOC users. Baby boomers and younger adults with diabetes were recruited from the DOC to participate in a cross-sectional survey. Demographics, electronic health use (reasons to join the DOC, DOC intensity, DOC engagement, internet social capital, and help or harm from the DOC), source credibility, health-related quality of life, and diabetes self-care data were collected. We examined the differences between baby boomer and younger adult responses. Results: The participants included baby boomers (N=76) and younger adult counterparts (N=102). Participants scored their diabetes health care team (mean 33.5 [SD 8]) significantly higher than the DOC (mean 32 [SD 6.4]) with regard to competence (P<.05) and trustworthiness (diabetes health care team mean 36.3 [SD 7.1]; DOC mean 33.6 [SD 6.2]; P<.001). High bonding and bridging social capital correlated with high DOC intensity (r=.629; P<.001 and r=.676; P<.001, respectively) and high DOC engagement (r=.474; P<.01 and r=.507; P≤.01, respectively). The greater majority (69.8%) reported the DOC as being helpful, and 1.8% reported that the DOC had caused minor harm. Baby boomers perceived DOC credibility, social capital, help, and harm similarly to their younger adult counterparts. Conclusions: Baby boomers are using and perceiving the DOC similarly to younger adults. DOC users find the DOC to be credible; however, they scored their health care team higher with regard to competence and trustworthiness. The DOC is beneficial with low risk and may augment current diabetes care.

  • Clinician with EHR. Source: iStock by Getty Images; Copyright: The Authors; URL: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/medical-technology-concept-electronic-medical-record-gm872676342-243745764; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Understanding Comorbidities and Their Contribution to Predictors of Medical Resource Utilization for an Age- and Sex-Matched Patient Population Living With...

    Abstract:

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL: https://aging.jmir.org/2019/2/e12496/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Social Support Patterns of Middle-Aged and Older Adults Within a Physical Activity App: Secondary Mixed Method Analysis

    Abstract:

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: freepik; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/portrait-female-nurse-holding-digital-tablet-standing-front-senior-patient-wheelchair_2676119.htm; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Promoting Identification and Use of Aid Resources by Caregivers of Seniors: Co-Design of an Electronic Health Tool

    Abstract:

    Background: The importance of supporting caregivers is recognized in home care for older persons, and facilitating their help-seeking process is a way to meet that need. The use of electronic health (eHealth) is a potentially promising solution to facilitate caregivers’ help-seeking process. Objective: The aim of this research was to develop, in partnership with community organizations, health and social service professionals and caregivers, an eHealth tool promoting the earlier identification of needs of older persons and an optimal use of available resources. Methods: To design the tool, 8 co-design sessions (CoDs) were conducted and 3 advisory committees were created (in 11 regions) in Quebec between May 2017 and May 2018. A variety of methods were used, including the sorting method, the use of personas, eHealth tool analysis, brainstorming, sketching, prototyping, and pretesting. Results: A total of 74 co-designers (women n=64 and men n=10) were recruited to participate in the CoDs or the advisory committees. This number allowed for the identification of needs to which the tool must respond and for the identification of its requirements (functionalities and content), as well as for the development of the information architecture. Throughout the study, adjustments were made to the planning of CoD, notably because certain steps required more sessions than expected. Among others, this was true for the identification of functionalities. Conclusions: This study led to the development of an eHealth tool for caregivers of functionally dependent older persons to help them identify their needs and the resources available to meet them. International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): RR2-10.2196/11634

  • Source: Unsplash.com; Copyright: Malcolm Lightbody; URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/Plii16U9bOU; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Exploring the Perceived Usefulness and Ease of Use of a Personalized Web-Based Resource (Care Companion) to Support Informal Caring: Qualitative Descriptive...

    Abstract:

    Background: Informal carers play an increasingly vital role in supporting the older population and the sustainability of health care systems. Care Companion is a theory-based and coproduced Web-based intervention to help support informal carers’ resilience. It aims to provide personalized access to information and resources that are responsive to individuals’ caring needs and responsibilities and thereby reduce the burdens associated with caregiving roles. Following the development of a prototype, it was necessary to undertake user acceptability testing to assess its suitability for wider implementation. Objective: This study aimed to undertake user acceptance testing to investigate the perceived usefulness and ease of use of Care Companion. The key objectives were to (1) explore how potential and actual users perceived its usefulness, (2) explore the barriers and facilitators to its uptake and use and (3) gather suggestions to inform plans for an area-wide implementation. Methods: We conducted user acceptance testing underpinned by principles of rapid appraisal using a qualitative descriptive approach. Focus groups, observations, and semistructured interviews were used in two phases of data collection. Participants were adult carers who were recruited through local support groups. Within the first phase, think-aloud interviews and observations were undertaken while the carers familiarized themselves with and navigated through the platform. In the second phase, focus group discussions were undertaken. Interested participants were then invited to trial Care Companion for up to 4 weeks and were followed up through semistructured telephone interviews exploring their experiences of using the platform. Thematic analysis was applied to the data, and a coding framework was developed iteratively with each phase of the study, informing subsequent phases of data collection and analysis. Results: Overall, Care Companion was perceived to be a useful tool to support caregiving activities. The key themes were related to its appearance and ease of use, the profile setup and log-in process, concerns related to the safety and confidentiality of personal information, potential barriers to use and uptake and suggestions for overcoming them, and suggestions for improving Care Companion. More specifically, these related to the need for personalized resources aimed specifically at the carers (instead of care recipients), the benefits of incorporating a Web-based journal, the importance of providing transparency about security and data usage, minimizing barriers to initial registration, offering demonstrations to support uptake by people with low technological literacy, and the need to develop a culturally sensitive approach. Conclusions: The findings identified ways of improving the ease of use and usefulness of Care Companion and demonstrated the importance of undertaking detailed user acceptance testing when developing an intervention for a diverse population, such as informal carers of older people. These findings have informed the further refinement of Care Companion and the strategy for its full implementation.

  • Source: libreshot.com; Copyright: Martin Vorel; URL: https://libreshot.com/retirees-with-mobile-phone/; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    An Intergenerational Information and Communications Technology Learning Project to Improve Digital Skills: User Satisfaction Evaluation

    Abstract:

    Background: “Digital Partners” is an intergenerational information and communications technology learning project carried out in the municipalities of Vic and Centelles (Catalonia) from April to May 2018. Within the framework of the introduction of community service as a subject in secondary education, the Centre for Health and Social Studies (University of Vic) created a training space with 38 intergenerational partners (aged 14-15 years and >65 years), with the aim of improving the senior users’ digital skills in terms of use of smartphones and tablets, thus helping reduce the digital divide in the territory. Objective: The aim of this paper is to evaluate the satisfaction of both junior and senior participants toward the intervention and to explore its main drivers. Methods: Participants who volunteered to participate in the study were interviewed. Quantitative and qualitative data gathered in paper-based ad hoc surveys were used to assess participants’ satisfaction. Results: The experience shows a broad satisfaction of both junior and senior users. The project’s strengths include the format of working in couples; randomly pairing individuals by operating system; the ability to practice with the device itself; individuals’ free choice to decide what they wish to learn, develop, or practice; and the availability of voluntary practice material that facilitates communication and learning. With regard to aspects that could be improved, there is a need to review the timetabling flexibility of meetings to avoid hurrying the elderly and to extend the project’s duration, if necessary. Conclusions: This activity can serve to create mutual learning through the use of mobile devices and generate security and motivation on the part of the seniors, thus reducing the digital divide and improving social inclusion.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: freepik; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/close-up-elderly-man-s-hand-typing-laptop_3421017.htm; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Attrition in an Online Loneliness Intervention for Adults Aged 50 Years and Older: Survival Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Online interventions can be as effective as in-person interventions. However, attrition in online intervention is high and potentially biases the results. More importantly, high attrition rates might reduce the effectiveness of online interventions. Therefore, it is important to discover the extent to which factors affect adherence to online interventions. The setting for this study is the online Friendship Enrichment Program, a loneliness intervention for adults aged 50 years and older. Objective: This study examined the contribution of severity of loneliness, coping preference, activating content, and engagement in attrition within an online intervention. Methods: Data were collected from 352 participants in an online loneliness intervention for Dutch people aged 50 years and older. Attrition was defined as not completing all 10 intervention lessons. The number of completed lessons was assessed through the management system of the intervention. We tested 4 hypotheses on attrition by applying survival analysis (Cox regression). Results: Of the 352 participants who subscribed to the intervention, 46 never started the introduction. The remaining 306 participants were divided into 2 categories: 73 participants who did not start the lessons of the intervention and 233 who started the lessons of the intervention. Results of the survival analysis (n=233) showed that active coping preference (hazard ratio [HR]=0.73), activating content (HR=0.71), and 2 indicators of engagement (HR=0.94 and HR=0.79) lowered attrition. Severity of loneliness was not related to attrition. Conclusions: To reduce attrition, developers of online (loneliness) interventions may focus on stimulating active behavior within the intervention.

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