Purpose: The purpose of this single case study was to examine the effectiveness of utilizing a wearable fitness tracker device in self-monitoring behavior change in complying with prescribed treatment. It was hypothesized that using a wearable self-monitoring device while involved in the treatment of multiple medical conditions will be beneficial to behavioral compliance and behavioral change in an overweight type 2 diabetic, geriatric subject being treated by a multidisciplinary health team utilizing an integrated treatment model.
Methods: An exploratory single case study research design is employed to explore those situations in which the intervention, a wearable monitoring device, is employed. This observational case study model was applied to the utility of self-monitoring wearable smart technology marketed as FitBit for self-monitoring activity and exercise over a 36-week period.
Results: After the 36-week intervention program, results revealed qualitative improvements in the (1) active minutes, (2) steps taken and (3) miles walked by the subject. In addition, the technology reported on calories burned, sleep hours and minutes logged and liquid consumed during each 24-hour period. The integrated allied health team was able to monitor changes made over time and noted improved time dedicated to exercise, walking and total miles walked. On miles walked per day, the results show that the subject increased miles walked from less than one mile per day to more than 4.6 miles per day which approached the recommended 5 miles per day goal. The calorie monitor aided the subject in changing calorie intake from that which exceeded 3500 per day to the recommended 2500 calories per day. Furthermore, the hours slept per night changed from less than 6.8 per night to 8.1 per day.
Conclusions: It was concluded that a 36-week intervention program can be an effective intervention methodology for improved health and well-being as measured by standard healthcare and wellness markers utilizing a wearable fitness tracker device like the Fitbit. While further research is needed with a larger sample, it is therefore recommended that allied health professionals consider the utilization of wearable smart technology as an adjunct to self-monitoring and compliance with treatment planning and follow-up care with allied health care providers.
The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance from Jill Livingston, Research Librarian, University of Connecticut.ge for her assistance with this study.
Miller TW. Effectiveness of a Wearable Fitness Tracker: Practice Implications in Allied Health -- a Single Case Study. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2017 Jan 11;15(1), Article 3.