Objective: To determine the efficacy of portable electronic aids such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), pagers or mobile phones for patients with cognitive deficits by means of a systematic review. The usability of these aids is also briefly discussed.
Data sources: PubMed, CINAHL, PsychINFO, EMBASE and MEDLINE were searched up to February 2009. The references of identified and relevant articles were scanned to find additional relevant titles.
Review methods: Papers referring to 'electronic aids', 'cognition' and 'brain injury' were included. The population had to be adult and have cognitive impairments as a result of acquired brain injury. Outcome measures were change in cognitive or occupational performance or the level of participation in daily life. The criteria of Cicerone et al. were used to evaluate the quality of the retrieved studies.
Results: Twenty-eight papers presenting 25 studies were reviewed. The total number of participants was 423. Most identified papers described case reports or non-randomized clinical trials. Only one randomized controlled trial was identified, in which the NeuroPage proved effective in supporting prospective memory. Other kinds of assistive technology such as PDAs and voice recorders showed positive results in supporting retrospective and prospective memory.
Conclusion: The efficacy of assistive technology in general is not yet sufficiently studied in randomized controlled trials, although promising results has been reported. Furthermore, several survey studies established that both potential users and clinicians have optimistic expectations about the usability of assistive technology.
- ELECTRONIC MEMORY AID
- PAGING SYSTEM
- TRAUMATIC BRAIN-INJURY