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National Physical Fitness and Sports Month: Redefining Possibilities with Digital Clinical Measures for Physical Activity 

Candice Taguibao, Digital Medicine Society

As May marks National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, we recognize the importance of physical activity (PA) in the maintenance of health across virtually all health conditions. DiMe’s Core Measures of Physical Activity project team is working to define a core set of digital clinical measures for physical activity (PA) across therapeutic areas. With more than 70 unique digital endpoints for PA currently being used, we are moving the field away from innovating in silos and mapping the initial steps to drive consensus and streamline investment.


We will illustrate a process of ‘what good looks like’, which includes putting the patient at the center of digital measures development. During a DiMe multi-stakeholder workshop in early February, John Linnell, a patient advocate living with COPD, shared his experiences with physical activity:


“Bending is a huge problem [for me]. Making a bed, [using] the dishwasher, pulling pots out of a cupboard – very difficult for me. But again, if I have to, I do. I’d rather not be that ‘woe is me’ person. I want to do things. Most of it is about the attitude of ‘I can do this.’”


John’s functional impairments limit his ability to participate in the daily activities that matter to him. While current ‘gold standard’ assessments, like the 6-minute walk test, can inform part of a patient’s functional capacity, we must ask ourselves whether clinic-based tests conducted in controlled environments at defined frequencies truly capture the breadth of what it means to move around and be active in real life, in contexts that are meaningful to patients. 


We can do better. There is immense opportunity to improve how we measure physical activity through digital health technologies (DHT) that can measure activity in daily life and complement in-person, clinic-based assessments. In addition to improving the resolution of data, digital measurement can decrease the burden of frequent visits to the clinic while empowering patients with the technology they may already be used to using. As John says, ”I think digital and physical activity go hand in hand…I happen to love tech and digital products… If you look at my desk, I have 12-13 digitally connected devices.” 


Join us for a free, public webinar on June 27 at 11 am ET, when DiMe’s physical activity project team will publicly discuss the early findings of this work. You’ll have the opportunity to learn how to start moving away from innovating in siloes and, instead, leverage multi-stakeholder collaboration to answer tough digital measures questions, get a glimpse of ‘what good looks like’ as it relates to using digital health technologies (DHTs) to measure physical activity in real life and hear about which digital measures matter for PA to speed up the development of therapeutics and enable the field to respond swiftly and meaningfully.

Register for the webinar here. 

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