In the field of physical therapy, valid and reliable measurement tools are important to show patient progress, and to produce accurate, objective documentation. The purpose of this experiment was to validate a new measurement tool, the Portable Speaking Electronic Goniometer (PSEG). In this experiment the PSEG was compared to the Universal Goniometer (UG), which is considered the gold standard in goniometry.
Twenty-four subjects were selected as a sample of convenience from Pacific University students and community members. Knee flexion and shoulder external rotation were measured on each subject with the PSEG and the UG by four experienced physical therapists. An Inter Class Correlation (ICC) was used to evaluate intra tester, intertool, and intertester reliability.
Although both tools showed scores that represented good reliability in all three categories, reliability ICC scores for the UG were consistently higher than those for the PSEG. For both tools, reliability tended to be higher at the knee than at the shoulder. And overall intertester reliability was less than intratester reliability, except for the PSEG at the shoulder.
More studies are needed to validate future prototypes of the PSEG. Needed improvements brought to light by this experiment are: greater volume to the speech output of the PSEG; wireless electronics mounted on the armature; more tension at the axis of the armature; and safeguards against winding or opening the armature the wrong direction.
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