Automating fall risk assessment, in an efficient, non-invasive manner, specifically in the elderly population, serves as an efficient means for implementing wide screening of individuals for fall risk and determining their need for participation in fall prevention programs. We present an automated and efficient system for fall risk assessment based on a multi-depth camera human motion tracking system, which captures patients performing the well-known and validated Berg Balance Scale (BBS). Trained machine learning classifiers predict the patient’s 14 scores of the BBS by extracting spatio-temporal features from the captured human motion records. Additionally, we used machine learning tools to develop fall risk predictors that enable reducing the number of BBS tasks required to assess fall risk, from 14 to 4–6 tasks, without compromising the quality and accuracy of the BBS assessment. The reduced battery, termed Efficient-BBS (E-BBS), can be performed by physiotherapists in a traditional setting or deployed using our automated system, allowing an efficient and effective BBS evaluation. We report on a pilot study, run in a major hospital, including accuracy and statistical evaluations. We show the accuracy and confidence levels of the E-BBS, as well as the average number of BBS tasks required to reach the accuracy thresholds. The trained E-BBS system was shown to reduce the number of tasks in the BBS test by approximately 50% while maintaining 97% accuracy. The presented approach enables a wide screening of individuals for fall risk in a manner that does not require significant time or resources from the medical community. Furthermore, the technology and machine learning algorithms can be implemented on other batteries of medical tests and evaluations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by a grant from the Israel Innovation Authority (Dockets 63436 and 67323) and from the Israeli Science Foundation Grant No. 1455/16.
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Berg Balance Scale
- Fall risk detection
- Human tracking
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry
- Information Systems
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering