Previous Boston ROC Pilot Studies

Boston ROC Pilot Studies from 2013-14:

“Development of a Low-Cost Computerized Clinical Assessment Tool for Movement Quality”

Na Jin Seo, PhD    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The primary goal of Dr. Seo’s pilot project is to develop a computerized clinical assessment tool for
patients’ limb movements using a low-cost motion capture device, Microsoft Kinect.

  • Aim 1. Develop a computerized version of the Mallet test using a low-cost motion capture device
  • Aim 2. Evaluate accuracy of the computerized Mallet test with patients
  • Aim 3. Determine usability of the computerized Mallet test for clinicians


“Development of a performance-based measure of executive function: the Complex Task Performance Assessment (CTPA)”

Timothy J. Wolf, OTD, OTR/L    Washington University School of Medicine

The focus of this pilot project is to further develop the reliability and validity of the CTPA in order for it to be used as a performance-based outcome measure in cognitive rehabilitation

  • Aim 1: Establish the discriminant validity of the Complex Task Performance Assessment.
  • Aim 2: Establish the alternate form reliability of the Complex Task Performance Assessment


Boston ROC Pilot Studies from 2012-13:

Title: Identifying disability in older adults using accelerometery:  Can we do better than self-report?

Daniel K. White, PT, ScD

Disability in daily life activities, such as difficulty caring for one-self or going out to public places, are an important and meaningful health outcomes in aging research.  To date, there are few self-report measures that demonstrate satisfactory psychometric properties to capture disability, such as the Pepper Assessment Tool for Disability (PAT-D) or the Late-Life Disability Instrument (LLDI), and at present there are no objective measures of disability.  There are several notable disadvantages to self-report, including bias due to contextual influences such as cognitive impairment and limited precision, which decreases generalizability across different patient populations and sensitivity to change.  One promising complementary approach to measuring disability may be to use accelerometery.  Many important daily life activities have unique movement patterns which can be captured by an accelerometer-enabled monitor. For this reason, activity data recorded using triaxial accelerometers may contain features, or unique patterns of activity which are indicators of disability.  For instance, the Actigraph is a triaxial accelerometer enabled monitor that quantifies free-living movement in units of activity counts, which is a measure of total energy expenditure.  In a pilot study, we recently compared Actigraph data with disability as measured by the LLDI in 70 older adults.  We found low variability of sustained bouts of activity counts and low peak 5 and 10 minute activity counts to be correlated with disability as defined as perceived limitation with important daily life activities.  Now, we are seeking to employ more sophisticated classification techniques using data sets from larger older adult cohorts to examine disability from accelerometer data.

The overall objective of this proposal is to examine the utility of using accelerometry as a measure of disability in older adults.  We will first identify unique features from accelerometry data that demonstrate concurrent validity with self-report measures of disability.  Since there is no gold standard measure of disability, we will next examine which measure of disability (self-report or accelerometry) is more sensitive to change over two years.  We acknowledge that disability covers a broad spectrum of behaviors many of which may or may not be captured by accelerometery.  Therefore, in addition to examining disability as defined by global summary scales, we propose to examine disability behaviors that involve some physical mobility where accelerometery may be of greatest use, such as limitations with recreational activities and visiting family and friends.


Specific Aims and Hypotheses

  1. To validate features from accelerometry with self-reported measures of disability in older adults. Features derived from accelerometry will be correlated with self-reported measures of disability defined from summary scales as well as from individual items of disability that involve physical mobility.
  2. To compare sensitivity to change in disability over two years measured with accelerometry to self-reported measures of disability in older adults.

Measures of disability from accelerometry will demonstrate larger effect sizes and standardized response means and a higher proportion of older adults will meet minimum detectable change (MDC) criteria measured by accelerometry compared with self-reported measures of disability.


Boston ROC Pilot Studies from 2011-12:

Title: Measuring Participation in veterans with blast related mTBI; a comparison of CRIS and PART-O

PI: J. Kay Waid-Ebbs, PhD, BCBA-D; Sub-investigator: Pey-Shan Wen, PhD

Specific Aims:

Aim 1: Determine which participation measure is best suited to veterans with blast-related mTBI.

Aim 2: Investigate the association between the participation measure determined from Aim 1 (the CRIS or the PARTO) and the comparable domains of the legacy quality of life measure, Veteran SF-36 Heath Status Questionnaire (VSF-36).

Aim 3: To evaluate the accuracy and precision (standard error) of the Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT)-based scores of the CRIS compared to the Rasch generated scores based on total item pool of the CRIS (paper and pencil version).

Title: Development of a Quantitative Spasticity Measure for Routine Clinical Practice

Key Personnel: YingChih Wang PhD, Jay Kapellusch PhD, Roger O. Smith, PhD

Specific Aims:

The aims of this project are to: (1) develop a reliable, easy to use, quantitative spasticity measurement device that is portable, cost efficient, and suitable for use in routine clinical practice, (2) validate the kinematic measurements of the device, and (3) perform a pilot study to determine the device’s measurement repeatability potential and to compare the inter-rater reliability of the device and the modified Ashworth Scale.


Links to the Key Personnel:


Boston ROC Pilot Studies from 2010-11:



To develop, validate, and disseminate computer adaptive testing (CAT) technology for assessing function and quality of care for rehabilitation clinical trial research.

The proposed project will examine the responsiveness of the new CAT, developed specifically for osteoarthritis, to changes in function among persons with OA undergoing surgery for hip or knee joint reconstruction.



To identify a valid, quantitative measure of physical activity intensity in youth with CP to be used in clinical trials.

The proposed project will:

  1. Validate existing or develop new youth-specific calibration equations to estimate physical activity intensity for three physical accelerometers with indirect calorimetry as the criterion measure.
  2. Determine whether one or more accelerometers is valid in estimating levels of physical activity intensity based on energy expenditure in comparison to actual energy expenditure.

The central hypothesis for this proposal is that all of the three physical activity accelerometers will provide valid estimates of physical activity intensity in youth with CP.



    1. To develop a prototype CRIS-CAT User Interface that incorporates a touch screen interface as well as audio-assisted computer interface (ACASI).
    2. Conduct a formative evaluation to refine the features of the CRIS-CAT User Interface.
    3. Evaluate test-retest reliability and calculate minimal detectable change (MDC) of the CRIS-CAT.