Worldwide Testing of the eFACE Facial Nerve Clinician-Graded Scale

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Abstract

Background:

The electronic, clinician-graded facial function scale (eFACE) is a potentially useful tool for assessing facial function. Beneficial features include its digital nature, use of visual analogue scales, and provision of graphic outputs and scores. The authors introduced the instrument to experienced facial nerve clinicians for feedback, and examined the effect of viewing a video tutorial on score agreement.

Methods:

Videos of 30 patients with facial palsy were embedded in an Apple eFACE application. Facial nerve clinicians were invited to perform eFACE video rating and tutorial observation. Participants downloaded the application, viewed the clips, and applied the scoring. They then viewed the tutorial and rescored the clips. Analysis of mean, standard deviation, and confidence interval were performed. Values were compared before and after tutorial viewing, and against scores obtained by an experienced eFACE user.

Results:

eFACE feedback was positive; participants reported eagerness to apply the instrument in clinical practice. Standard deviation decreased significantly in only two of the 16 categories after tutorial viewing. Subscores for static, dynamic, and synkinesis all demonstrated stable standard deviations, suggesting that the instrument is intuitive. Participants achieved posttutorial scores closer to the experienced eFACE user in 14 of 16 scores, although only a single score, nasolabial fold orientation with smiling, achieved statistically significant improvement.

Conclusions:

The eFACE may be a suitable, cross-platform, digital instrument for facial function assessment, and was well received by facial nerve experts. Tutorial viewing does not appear to be necessary to achieve agreement, although it does mildly improve agreement between occasional and frequent eFACE users.

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