The use of wearable motion sensing technology offers important advantages over conventional methods for obtaining measures of physical activity and/or physical functioning in individuals with chronic diseases. This review aims to identify the actual state of applying wearable systems for monitoring mobility-related activity in individuals with chronic disease conditions. In this review we focus on technologies and applications, feasibility and adherence aspects, and clinical relevance of wearable motion sensing technology. PubMed (Medline since 1990), PEdro, and reference lists of all relevant articles were searched. Two authors independently reviewed randomised trials systematically. The quality of selected articles was scored and study results were summarised and discussed. 163 abstracts were considered. After application of inclusion criteria and full text reading, 25 articles were taken into account in a full text review. Twelve of these papers evaluated walking with pedometers, seven used uniaxial accelerometers to assess physical activity, six used multiaxial accelerometers, and two papers used a combination approach of a pedometer and a multiaxial accelerometer for obtaining overall activity and energy expenditure measures. Seven studies mentioned feasibility and/or adherence aspects. The number of studies that use movement sensors for monitoring of activity patterns in chronic disease (postural transitions, time spent in certain positions or activities) is nonexistent on the RCT level of study design.
Although feasible methods for monitoring human mobility are available, evidence-based clinical applications of these methods in individuals with chronic diseases are in need of further development.