Using a Wireless Electroencephalography Device to Evaluate E-Health and E-Learning Interventions

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Abstract

Background

Measuring engagement and other reactions of patients and health professionals to e-health and e-learning interventions remains a challenge for researchers.

Objective

The aim of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of using a wireless electroencephalography (EEG) device to measure affective (anxiety, enjoyment, relaxation) and cognitive (attention, engagement, interest) reactions of patients and healthcare professionals during e-health or e-learning interventions.

Methods

Using a wireless EEG device, we measured patient (n = 6) and health professional (n = 7) reactions during a 10-minute session of an e-health or e-learning intervention. The following feasibility and acceptability indicators were assessed and compared for patients and healthcare professionals: number of eligible participants who consented to participate, reasons for refusal, time to install and calibrate the wireless EEG device, number of participants who completed the full 10-minute sessions, participant comfort when wearing the device, signal quality, and number of observations obtained for each reaction. The wireless EEG readings were compared to participant self-rating of their reactions.

Results

We obtained at least 75% of possible observations for attention, engagement, enjoyment, and interest. EEG scores were similar to self-reported scores, but they varied throughout the sessions, which gave information on participants’ real-time reactions to the e-health/e-learning interventions. Results on the other indicators support the feasibility and acceptability of the wireless EEG device for both patients and professionals.

Discussion

Using the wireless EEG device was feasible and acceptable. Future studies must examine its use in other contexts of care and explore which components of the interventions affected participant reactions by combining wireless EEG and eye tracking.

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