Wearables can be used to improve patient’s health and reminders for them about their movement during the day, thus can be helpful to doctors to monitor the fitness status of their patients. McDermott and her colleagues reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that the home-based exercise schedule that used wearable activity monitor named FitBit Zip and the telephone coaching for about 9 months to promote walking for patients did not improve patient’s peripheral arterial disease (PAD) after comparing with the care taken without online coaching, exercise or any sessions. PAD is a disease in which narrowed blood vessels reduce the blood circulation to the limbs which result in leg pain while walking.
Many studies show that the treadmill exercise done under proper supervision is good for patients suffering from peripheral arterial disorder. Supervised and home exercises both can be very useful to the patients but for supervised exercise patient needs to visit the exercise center at least three times in a week which can be difficult to many patients.
The main goal of the study was to provide home-based exercise training program to patients by supervising them using the wearable activity monitors and teach them using weekly or monthly phone calls. About 200 patients having PAD were studied between years 2015 and 2017 who belonged to average age group between 70.2±10.4 years and 101 patients were provided usual care.
99 patients with exercise intervention attended 4 online weekly sessions in first month and used wearable activity tracker for 8 months with telephone coaching whereas the 101 patients with usual care had no online sessions or coaching. After 9 months, McDermott and colleagues found that there was no change in 6-minute walk distance between patients with exercise intervention and usual care patients. When conducted questionnaire session, the patients with usual care were improved with less leg pain as compared to patients with exercise intervention.
The study has some limitations like only 79 per cent of scheduled weekly or monthly telephone coaching were actually made and patients lacked efficiency in applying wearables.
In future, more technologies will be developed to solve the patient’s health problems at home but as of now it’s worth to visit the clinic and take proper guidance and treatment from the doctor.