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Prosthetists’ Perceptions of Information Obtained From a Lower-Limb Prosthesis Monitoring System

A Pilot Study

Balkman, Geoffrey S., MSPO, CPO; Vamos, Andrew C., MS; Sanders, Joan E., PhD; Larsen, Brian G., MS; Hafner, Brian J., PhD

JPO: Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics: April 2019 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - p 112–120
doi: 10.1097/JPO.0000000000000203

Introduction Prosthetists have limited knowledge of their patients’ use of a prosthesis outside of the clinical environment. Prosthesis-mounted monitors can be used to directly measure patients’ prosthesis use and activity. Prosthetists’ opinions regarding potential clinical applications for sensor-based information may inform further development of this technology. A pilot study was conducted to assess prosthetists’ perceptions of prosthesis use and activity information obtained by a monitoring system.

Materials and Methods Three local prosthetists were recruited to participate in the study. One patient with transtibial amputation from each prosthetist volunteered to wear limb presence and activity monitors for 2 weeks. Collected data were used to determine prosthesis use and activity. Each prosthetist completed a survey, examined clinical reports of their patient’s prosthesis use and activity, and participated in a semistructured interview. Survey results and interview transcripts were analyzed to identify and compare prosthetists’ perceptions.

Results Prosthesis use and activity varied among patients. Prosthetists overestimated and underestimated patient activity relative to measurements recorded by the monitors. All three prosthetists selected multiple clinical applications for the prosthesis use and activity information in the survey, and several additional applications were suggested during the interviews.

When presented with multiple report formats, prosthetists found features of each to be clinically useful.

Conclusions Prosthesis-mounted monitors may provide prosthetists with a better understanding of their patients’ prosthesis use and activity. Information provided by the monitoring system may inform clinical decisions and promote evidence-based practices.

GEOFFREY S. BALKMAN, CPO, BRIAN J. HAFNER, PhD, are affiliated with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

ANDREW C. VAMOS, JOAN E. SANDERS, PhD, BRIAN G. LARSEN, are affiliated with the Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Source of Funding: This research was based on work supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01HD060585.

Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to: Brian J. Hafner, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific St, Box 356490, Seattle, WA 98195; email:

© 2019 by the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists.