Patients' experiences with commercially available activity trackers embedded in physiotherapy treatment: a qualitative study

Darcy Ummels*, Emmylou Beekman, Albine Moser, Susy M. Braun, Anna J. Beurskens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aim: The aim of this study was to describe the experience with commercially available activity trackers embedded in the physiotherapy treatment of patients with a chronic disease. Methods: In a qualitative study, 29 participants with a chronic disease participated. They wore an activity tracker for two to eight weeks. Data were collected using 23 interviews and discussion with 6 participants. A framework analysis was used to analyze the data. Results: The framework analysis resulted in seven categories: purchase, instruction, characteristics, correct functioning, sharing data, privacy, use, and interest in feedback. The standard goal of the activity trackers was experienced as too high, however the tracker still motivated them to be more active. Participants would have liked more guidance from their physiotherapists because they experienced the trackers as complex. Participants experienced some technical failures, are willing to share data with their physiotherapist and, want to spend a maximum of euro50,-. Conclusion: The developed framework gives insight into all important concepts from the experiences reported by patients with a chronic disease and can be used to guide further research and practice. Patients with a chronic disease were positive regarding activity trackers in general. When embedded in physiotherapy, more attention should be paid to the integration in treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3284-3292
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number23
Early online date3 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2020


  • Activity tracker
  • wearable
  • chronic disease
  • physiotherapy
  • physical activity
  • patient perspective
  • experiences
  • framework analysis
  • WORN


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