Application of wearable technology for the ergonomic risk assessment of healthcare professionals: A systematic literature review

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Abstract

Healthcare professionals are exposed to multiple physical risk factors related to the development of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD), which significantly affect their quality of life. Several ergonomic methods have been developed for identifying risk factors in the workplace. Among these, wearable devices that perform direct measurements have demonstrated outstanding potential in recent years to provide reliable, non-invasive, and continuous exposure assessment. Therefore, this systematic review aims to describe the use of wearable technology for the ergonomic risk assessment of healthcare professionals. Twenty-nine publications were selected following PRISMA guidelines based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria set. Most of the articles were published in the last three years, confirming a growing trend in the research on this topic. Most wearable devices, which were used isolated or combined, consist of inertial sensors used to measure and assess the exposure to awkward postures and sEMG sensors, which provide the measurement of muscle activity parameters related to the force applied while performing work activities. The main results and respective analyses provided insights into the strengths and limitations of using wearable technology to acquire data on several work activities performed by healthcare professionals. Future research is needed to widen and validate the applicability of wearable technology in support of ergonomic interventions aimed at preventing the development of WRMSD among healthcare professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103570
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal Of Industrial Ergonomics
Volume100
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Direct measurements
  • Physical risk factors
  • Wearable devices
  • Work conditions

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