A mobile app directory of occupational therapists who provide home modifications: Development and preliminary usability evaluation

An Thi Nguyen, Emily Kling Somerville, Sandra Martina Espín-Tello, Marian Keglovits, Susan Lynn Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Home modifications provided by occupational therapists (OTs) are effective in improving daily activity performance and reducing fall risk among community-dwelling older adults. However, the prevalence of home modification is low. One reason is the lack of a centralized database of OTs who provide home modifications. Objective: This study aimed to develop and test the usability of a mobile app directory of OTs who provide home modifications in the United States. Methods: In phase 1, a prototype was developed by identifying OTs who provide home modifications through keyword Web searches. Referral information was confirmed by phone or email. In phase 2, community-dwelling older adults aged older than 65 years and OTs currently working in the United States were purposefully recruited to participate in a single usability test of the mobile app, Home Modifications for Aging and Disability Directory of Referrals (Home Maddirs). Participants completed the System Usability Scale (SUS) and semistructured interview questions. Interview data were coded, and themes were derived using a grounded theory approach. Results: In phase 1, referral information for 101 OTs across 49 states was confirmed. In phase 2, 6 OTs (mean clinical experience 4.3 years, SD 1.6 years) and 6 older adults (mean age 72.8 years, SD 5.0 years) participated. The mean SUS score for OTs was 91.7 (SD 8.0; out of 100), indicating good usability. The mean SUS score for older adults was 71.7 (SD 27.1), indicating considerable variability in usability. In addition, the SUS scores indicated that the app is acceptable to OTs and may be acceptable to some older adults. For OTs, self-reported barriers to acceptability and usability included the need for more information on the scope of referral services. For older adults, barriers included high cognitive load, lack of operational skills, and the need to accommodate sensory changes. For both groups, facilitators of acceptability and usability included perceived usefulness, social support, and multiple options to access information. Conclusions: Home Maddirs demonstrates good preliminary acceptability and usability to OTs. Older adults' perceptions regarding acceptability and usability varied considerably, partly based on prior experience using mobile apps. Results will be used to make improvements to this promising new tool for increasing older adults' access to home modifications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14465
JournalJMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • MHealth
  • Mobile app
  • Occupational therapist
  • Occupational therapy
  • Older adult
  • User-computer interface


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