Sway Balance Mobile Application: Reliability, Acclimation, and Baseline Administration

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AUTHORS: Mummareddy, Brett BL, Yengo-Kahn AM, Solomon GS, Zuckerman SL

OBJECTIVES: To describe historic baseline session administration practices, to assess the utility of a practice trial (an acclimation trial) before the official balance session, and to examine the within-session reliability of the Sway Balance Mobile Application (SBMA).

RESULTS: Variable administration practices with significant differences between baseline session averages across methods were found. Individuals who performed an acclimation trial had a significantly higher baseline session average than those who did not. Within-session reliability estimates were in the low to adequate range (r = 0.53-0.78), with higher estimates found for 2 consecutive baseline tests (r = 0.75-0.78).

CONCLUSION: For maximum clinical utility, a standardized protocol for postural control baseline acquisition is necessary. Acclimation trial should be administered before a baseline session to minimize variability, especially with only 1 to 2 baseline tests. The highest reliability was observed across 2 consecutive baseline tests within the same baseline session. We suggest obtaining baseline balance measurements with an acclimation trial followed by a baseline session with 2 baseline tests. Prospective studies are required for validation.