Promise of wearable physical activity monitors in oncology practice

Muhammad S. Beg, Arjun Gupta, Tyler Stewart, Chad D. Rethorst

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Commercially available physical activity monitors provide clinicians an opportunity to obtain oncology patient health measures to an unprecedented degree. These devices can provide objective and quantifiable measures of physical activity, which are not subject to errors or bias of self-reporting or shorter duration of formal testing. Priorworkonso-called quantified-self datawasbasedonolder-generation, research-grade accelerometers, which laid the foundation for consumer-based physical activity monitoring devices to be validated as a feasible and reliable tool in patients with cancer. Physical activity monitors are being used in chronic conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus, and obesity. Differing demographics, compounded with higher symptom and treatment burdens in patients with cancer, imply that additional work is needed to understand the unique strengths and weaknesses of physical activity monitors in this population. Oncology programs can systematically implement these tools into their workflows in an adaptable and iterative manner. Translating large amounts of data collected from an individual physical activity monitoring device into clinically relevant information requires sophisticated data compilation and reduction. In this article,wesummarize the characteristics of older-And newer-generation physical activity monitors, review the validation of physical activity monitors with respect to health-related quality-of-life assessments, and describe the current role of these devices for the practicing oncologist. We also highlight the challenges and next steps needed for physical activity monitors to provide relevant information that can change the current state of oncology practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-89
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of oncology practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy


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