Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine vol:99 issue:1 pages:34-42
Over the recent years pen-paper observational assessment scales have proven to be
useful to monitor behaviour and responses of humans and animals. Observational assessment
tools are typically applied for subjects who are not able to communicate directly. For example pain
assessment on young children or lameness assessment for evaluating horses.
For on-site observational assessment however it is hard to record and validate timing patterns of
observed events using pen-paper scales. Although timing information is in many cases assumed
highly valuable, only (videotaped) laboratory scales are able to benefit from this knowledge.
In this paper we digitalize pen-paper assessment scales resulting in new functionalities capable to
improve assessment scores. A case study for on-site pain/discomfort assessment on severely
demented people is presented. The resulting system is an electronic device with a graphical user
interface (GUI) on a touch screen. The device allows easily registering and evaluating complex
timing patterns of behaviours and responses, on-site. This feature could result in a new generation
of more accurate observational assessment instruments. Moreover digital information is stored in a
database improving administration, providing immediate feedback and allowing applications like:
visualisation, statistical analysis and scientific research like data mining.