Testing and Evaluation

A classification of the testing activities can also be performed to highlight a methodological aspect of the trial, i.e., the type test design. The description of the trial type includes, on the one hand, the level of evidence that has been reached by means of the study design and, on the other hand, a description of the trial content, whether the trial has a validation, exploration, or feasibility character to address the REACH system. To increase the clarity for the level-of-evidence classification, the trials were categorized into three different subgroups, i.e., reviews/randomized controlled trials (RCTs), observational/ non-randomised experimental trials and case series/ single case trials. From the 23 trials that have been performed, six are classified with the highest level of evidence, 13 are observational or non-randomised experimental trials and four are case reports or case series.

In the validation studies, it is investigated the extent to which a concept, conclusion or measurement is well-founded and how likely it corresponds to the real world. Exploratory trials are linked to real-world activities and problems. They gather preliminary information that helps to define problems and suggest hypotheses. In feasibility studies, the practicality of a proposed testing activity or system is evaluated. Separating the REACH trials into these three categories, six can be categorized as validation, one as exploratory, and seven as feasibility trials.

The attribution of each trial to one of the four REACH Touchpoints (TP) is important information to highlight, showing that each touchpoint is addressed adequately in the testing activities. A detailed description is listed under the respective subheadings. Overall, a total of eight studies have been performed addressing both TP2 and TP4, four have been performed indicating TP3, and three can be categorized under TP1.

The diagram below is a timeline for all testing activities (trials) performed within REACH. The order of the testing activities shows the affiliation of each trial to one of the three system instances: 1) Sens-ing and Early Detection, 2) Motivational Techniques, and 3) Programmed Interventions. The dark purple bars present those trials that have been performed for the REACH target population (age 65+), and the light purple presents those performed with younger adults. Ongoing trials are those on the right of the current reporting month 36.

Timeline for all testing activities (trials) performed within REACH

Figure 1. Timeline for all testing activities (trials) performed within REACH

A graphical overview of the above-stated aspects of methodological classifications is given in the figure below. In addition, the figure also highlights the information on methodological aspects, demographics (age, female/male distribution), inclusion and exclusion criteria and the possible medical condition investigated within the trials (e.g., healthy subjects or patients with diabetes, orthopedic and neurological diseases). In the overview, descriptive analyses for several classification aspects are displayed, including the allocation of each trial to one of the touch points, the level of evidence or the system instances. Accordingly, micro-methodological decisions fundamental to REACH’s overall goal are highlighted in the rings which are the age of the investigated participants, the proportion of female and male participants, and the medical target condition that was addressed.

Overview of all testing activities (trials) performed within REACH

Figure 2. Overview of all testing activities (trials) performed within REACH