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Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2019 Jan;14(1):21-32. doi: 10.1080/17483107.2017.1389999. Epub 2017 Oct 24.

The development and evaluation of a web-based programme to support problem-solving skills following brain injury.

Author information

a Center on Brain Injury Research and Training (CBIRT) , University of Oregon , Eugene , OR , USA.
b Coastline Community College - Acquired Brain Injury Program , Newport Beach , CA , USA.
c Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana , Indianapolis , IN , USA.
d Oregon Research Institute; University of Oregon , Eugene , OR , USA.
e Special Education and Clinical Sciences , University of Oregon , Eugene , OR , USA.
f Spaulding/Harvard Traumatic Brain Injury Model System; Northeastern University , Boston , MA , USA.
g Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center , Cincinnati , OH , USA.
h Cognitopia; Eugene Research Institute , Eugene , OR , USA.



Cognitive impairments following brain injury, including difficulty with problem solving, can pose significant barriers to successful community reintegration. Problem-solving strategy training is well-supported in the cognitive rehabilitation literature. However, limitations in insurance reimbursement have resulted in fewer services to train such skills to mastery and to support generalization of those skills into everyday environments. The purpose of this project was to develop and evaluate an integrated, web-based programme, ProSolv, which uses a small number of coaching sessions to support problem solving in everyday life following brain injury.


We used participatory action research to guide the iterative development, usability testing, and within-subject pilot testing of the ProSolv programme. The finalized programme was then evaluated in a between-subjects group study and a non-experimental single case study.


Results were mixed across studies. Participants demonstrated that it was feasible to learn and use the ProSolv programme for support in problem solving. They highly recommended the programme to others and singled out the importance of the coach. Limitations in app design were cited as a major reason for infrequent use of the app outside of coaching sessions.


Results provide mixed evidence regarding the utility of web-based mobile apps, such as ProSolv to support problem solving following brain injury. Implications for Rehabilitation People with cognitive impairments following brain injury often struggle with problem solving in everyday contexts. Research supports problem solving skills training following brain injury. Assistive technology for cognition (smartphones, selected apps) offers a means of supporting problem solving for this population. This project demonstrated the feasibility of a web-based programme to address this need.


Brain injury; assistive technology; problem solving

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