Session Type: ACR Poster Session C
Session Time: 9:00AM-11:00AM
Background/Purpose: Wearable physical activity monitoring tools can be used for goal-setting and progress-monitoring in rehabilitation programs for patients with arthritis. Little is known about the views of health professionals regarding the use or potential of these tools in clinical application. As part of a larger project about the barriers and facilitators to using physical activity trackers in clinical practice, this qualitative study aimed to examine the perspective of healthcare professionals on the prospect of using commercially available wearable trackers in their practice.
Methods: We conducted focus groups and one-on-one interviews to explore the views of health professionals towards physical activity trackers. Eligible participants were physiotherapists or occupational therapists with at least 40% of their caseload dedicated to arthritis. English-speaking therapists with any level of experience with online tools were considered eligible. Transcripts of the interviews and focus groups were coded and analyzed in a qualitative, theme-based examination of the views that healthcare professionals held toward these devices.
Across 5 focus groups and 3 interviews conducted in 2014-15, the sample of 25 health professionals recruited were mainly female (92%). Of the 18 participants who provided more demographic information, 94% were physiotherapists, 94% were living and working in an urban or suburban environment, with 60% of participants working full-time, and 67% working in outpatient clinics. The participant age range was between 28 and 61, with the median age of participants being 47, and the range of years in practice was between 5 and 39, with a median of 22 years. Approximately one third of participants had experience in using physical activity trackers.
The majority of healthcare professionals participating in the study regarded these devices as potentially useful tools because of the objective data they provide and their ability to facilitate the setting of and adherence to goals throughout rehabilitation. Some of the participants, however, thought that they would be of limited use due to: 1) the lesser computer literacy of older patients, who were the majority of patients with osteoarthritis; 2) their potential to be just another novelty; 3) the inaccessibility for people with health-related challenges such as hand pain and deformity due to arthritis, or vision problems; 4) the cost of these devices for patients.
Conclusion: Therapists report activity trackers show promise for improving physical activity habits, however, some therapists are skeptical regarding the benefit for and accessibility to specific patients, particularly older adults with osteoarthritis.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Macdonald G, Leese J, Backman C, Davis A, Townsend AF, Avina-Zubieta JA, Gromala D, Li L. Integrating Wearable Physical Activity Monitoring Tools into Rehabilitation Practice for Patients with Arthritis: The Healthcare Professional Perspective [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015; 67 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/integrating-wearable-physical-activity-monitoring-tools-into-rehabilitation-practice-for-patients-with-arthritis-the-healthcare-professional-perspective/. Accessed January 24, 2020.
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