Walking has the potential to be a rich indicator of health in many medical conditions. In recent years, scientific research has proposed more than 100 digital mobility outcomes (DMOs) that could be used to assess walking, and thereby monitor health status, using digital technologies. Though they show great promise, these DMOs require further validation.
Researchers must prove that they:
- Accurately measure what they are supposed to measure
- Predict “hard” clinical outcomes such as disease progression, falls, or hospitalization
- Are relevant in patients’ daily lives
Unfortunately, the methods, terminology, and patient populations studied in existing research vary widely, making it difficult to identify trends and select the most promising DMOs for additional research. In this study, we conducted a scoping review to identify existing studies in four medical conditions (Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Hip Fracture), organize the results of those studies, and compare results between conditions and DMOs to suggest future research priorities. We screened over 20,000 articles to identify 855 publications which met our eligibility criteria. Though the methods used in these studies were diverse, the evidence suggested that several mobility outcomes, such as gait speed, step length, or daily walking time, are relevant in multiple medical conditions despite major differences in symptoms and disease trajectories. Since these measures have the potential to positively impact patients’ medical care, there is an opportunity and a need for researchers with diverse technological and clinical backgrounds to work together to form a common approach to DMO development and validation.
You can read the article HERE.