Computer skills in patients with movement disorders

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2005 Nov;11(7):421-6. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2005.04.008. Epub 2005 Sep 9.


Background: Electronic communication is important in healthcare, but the level of computer proficiency among patients with neurological disorders is unknown.

Objective: This study sought to determine the proportion of a movement disorder clinic population that was able to perform basic computer skills, and the effect of specific cognitive and motor features on computer proficiency.

Methods: One hundred and four movement disorder patients participated. Seventy-four completed both paper and computerized questionnaires to evaluate data entry skills and thirty subjects completed paper questionnaires only. Basic e-mail messaging and Internet skills were evaluated. Demographic information, Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) score, and Hoehn and Yahr stage were assessed.

Results: Ninety-six percent of subjects successfully completed computerized data entry tasks, and over 70% completed e-mail and Internet tasks. Computer data entry had an average accuracy of nearly 95% when compared to paper data entry. Poorer performance on computer tasks was associated with older age, less education, and cognitive impairment. Computer performance was reduced in subjects with a history of parkinsonism and when both tremor and dyskinesia were present during task performance. Nearly three-quarters of subjects have access to a computer. Subjects who completed the paper questionnaire but refused to complete the computer questionnaire were older, less educated and more cognitively impaired.

Conclusion: The majority of patients visiting a tertiary movement disorders center were able to perform computer data entry, e-mail messaging and Internet usage. These results reinforce the potential value of electronic communication and information systems in neurology practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microcomputers*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills*
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Movement Disorders / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • User-Computer Interface*