The Views and Needs of People With Parkinson Disease Regarding Wearable Devices for Disease Monitoring: Mixed Methods Exploration

Lorna Kenny, Kevin Moore, Clíona O'Riordan, Siobhan Fox, John Barton, Salvatore Tedesco, Marco Sica, Colum Crowe, Antti Alamäki, Joan Condell, Anna Nordström, Suzanne Timmons

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Background: Wearable devices can diagnose, monitor, and manage neurological disorders such as Parkinson disease. With a growing number of wearable devices, it is no longer a case of whether a wearable device can measure Parkinson disease motor symptoms, but rather which features suit the user. Concurrent with continued device development, it is important to generate insights on the nuanced needs of the user in the modern era of wearable device capabilities. Objective: This study aims to understand the views and needs of people with Parkinson disease regarding wearable devices for disease monitoring and management. Methods: This study used a mixed method parallel design, wherein survey and focus groups were concurrently conducted with people living with Parkinson disease in Munster, Ireland. Surveys and focus group schedules were developed with input from people with Parkinson disease. The survey included questions about technology use, wearable device knowledge, and Likert items about potential device features and capabilities. The focus group participants were purposively sampled for variation in age (all were aged >50 years) and sex. The discussions concerned user priorities, perceived benefits of wearable devices, and preferred features. Simple descriptive statistics represented the survey data. The focus groups analyzed common themes using a qualitative thematic approach. The survey and focus group analyses occurred separately, and results were evaluated using a narrative approach. Results: Overall, 32 surveys were completed by individuals with Parkinson disease. Four semistructured focus groups were held with 24 people with Parkinson disease. Overall, the participants were positive about wearable devices and their perceived benefits in the management of symptoms, especially those of motor dexterity. Wearable devices should demonstrate clinical usefulness and be user-friendly and comfortable. Participants tended to see wearable devices mainly in providing data for health care professionals rather than providing feedback for themselves, although this was also important. Barriers to use included poor hand function, average technology confidence, and potential costs. It was felt that wearable device design that considered the user would ensure better compliance and adoption. Conclusions: Wearable devices that allow remote monitoring and assessment could improve health care access for patients living remotely or are unable to travel. COVID-19 has increased the use of remotely delivered health care; therefore, future integration of technology with health care will be crucial. Wearable device designers should be aware of the variability in Parkinson disease symptoms and the unique needs of users. Special consideration should be given to Parkinson disease–related health barriers and the users’ confidence with technology. In this context, a user-centered design approach that includes people with Parkinson disease in the design of technology will likely be rewarded with improved user engagement and the adoption of and compliance with wearable devices, potentially leading to more accurate disease management, including self-management.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere27418
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages26
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 5 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland and its members for their support and guidance in this study. They specially thank all the participants who gave their time and took part in this study. This project was cofunded by the European Regional Development Fund under Ireland’s European Structural and Investment Funds Programme 2014-2020. This work was supported in part by the Interreg Northern Periphery and Artic Programme funded project SENDOC (smart sensor devices for rehabilitation and connected health). Aspects of this publication were supported by Enterprise Ireland and Abbvie Inc under grant agreement no. IP 2017 0625.

Publisher Copyright:
© Lorna Kenny, Kevin Moore, Clíona O' Riordan, Siobhan Fox, John Barton, Salvatore Tedesco, Marco Sica, Colum Crowe, Antti Alamäki, Joan Condell, Anna Nordström, Suzanne Timmons. Originally published in JMIR Formative Research (, 06.01.2022. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Formative Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.


  • Parkinson's Disease
  • mixed methods
  • focus group
  • survevy
  • wearable devices
  • technology
  • monitoring
  • mHealth
  • aging
  • mixed method
  • Parkinson disease
  • mobile phone
  • survey
  • Mobile phone
  • Mixed method
  • Wearable devices
  • Survey
  • Technology
  • Focus group


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