D1.3 A Mobile Application to Measure Gait Speed

Principal Investigators: Brian Jones, MSEE; Theodore Johnson, MD, MPH
Project Team: Molly M. Perkins, Ph.D.; Caroyln Clevenger, DNP

Specific Aims
Multiple studies have shown a consistently strong association between gait speed of frail older adults and negative functional (e.g., survival) and activity outcomes. However, health care professionals have been slow to measure this physiologic parameter, largely due to the lack of a simple, standardized way of measuring it. The purpose of this project is to develop a reliable, simple, and cost-effective mobile app to measure gait speed and demonstrate the feasibility of this measure as a predictive tool to identify risk of functional decline and activity limitation in frail elders who are aging with ambulatory disability.

Specific aims of this project are to:

  1. conduct focus groups with RE researchers, clinicians and service providers to assess their existing knowledge and potential research and clinical applications of the data;
  2. develop a prototype of a deployable, easily-installed, low-cost, fixed device that can be incorporated into home, clinical and laboratory settings to reliably measure gait speed of individuals with and without ambulatory disabilities and varying levels of frailty;
  3. evaluate the accuracy of the prototype;
  4. develop a mobile application;
  5. test and refine usability based on feedback from RE researchers, clinicians and service providers; and
  6. test and refine based on data from older adults with and without ambulatory disabilities and varying levels of frailty.

The project will result in the development and commercialization of an easy and reliable way of measuring gait speed that can be used in RE research or integrated as an identifiable data field in the electronic medical record. In the long term, the correlation of gait with functional and activity data will enable the development of a predictive model to support clinical and research efforts to identify trajectories of functional declines and activity limitations in older adults with disability.

Research Questions
RQ1. What are the potential applications of gait data for individuals with and without ambulatory disabilities and varying levels of frailty and does this differ in home, clinical and laboratory settings?
RQ2. How accurate is the system?
RQ3. What are the usability issues with the system?
RQ4. What is the feasibility of using gait to identify performance trajectory of mobility and other important activity outcomes?