Development and evaluation of a software prototype for hydrotherapy screening questionnaires and exercise routines
thesisposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Sandra Dalton
"This research investigated factors affecting the development and adoption of innovative work practices by exercise rehabilitation providers working in hydrotherapy pools. Using models from the fields of software engineering and behavioural science, this thesis describes how the author developed and then evaluated a software prototype to create individual exercise regimes and manage client information. The prototype was written by the researcher using Microsoft Access and Microsoft Visual Basic and included 563 exercise pictures drawn by the author as Microsoft Bitmap Images. This prototype was then evaluated for its S2quality and useS3 by nine professional staff at a large aquatic physiotherapy clinic in metropolitan Australia. The evaluation was conducted at the end of a one month software trial with participants completing two questionnaires and attending one of two focus group interviews. The questionnaires were a User Profile Questionnaire and a Software Usability Measurement Inventory (SUMI). The major findings from the evaluation were that the prototype was too complex compared to the participants current methods of practice and it provided insufficient advantages to justify its adoption. This finding was reflected by the poor to below average results from the SUMI questionnaire and was discussed by participants during focus group interviews. Furthermore, the User Profile Questionnaire and the interviews suggest that hydrotherapy instructors are unlikely to use or be aware of existing exercise software products for creating client routines. For the 30% of participants who had previously used exercise software, none chose to use such products for their hydrotherapy clients because of the limited number and range of aquatic exercises they offered. While the results suggested a strong resistance to the use of any exercise software by hydrotherapy instructors, the participants strongly encouraged future development of the prototype, with design changes to better match their needs. The consensus of opinion encouraged removal or separation of the pre-exercise screening questionnaires and a focus on creating exercise routines. The prototypes large library of water exercises was recognized as a valuable resource with numerous opportunities to redesign the system used to classify different types of exercise in the library for use by different types of water-based exercise instructors. Conclusions drawn of this research are presented in two parts. The first presents a SWOT analysis, summarizing the major recommendations from the software evaluation. This includes strategies for improving both the software prototype and the general acceptance of a new technology. The second offers advice to others with an interest in undertaking creative research as a postgraduate project, especially in a field of science. This advice includes strategies found to be fundamental to the planning and management of creative research projects such as this." -- abstract.