Medicine 2.0 (2012): Web based physical activity program

Daniel Bosson of the Netherlands presented a web-based intervention to increase physical activity in patients with osteoarthritis (OA). This is a population that is less physically active than patients without OA. Decreased activity results in a short term reduction in pain but overall is likely detrimental to their health.
Bossen et al. created a 9 week web-based program intended to increase physical activity. It consisted of an introduction and then 8 weekly assignments. He then ran a controlled trial with patients on a waiting list as the controls. It was unclear to me if patients served as their own control or was a second group used.
The study was largely negative. People in the intervention group reported increased activity but this was not born out in the objective measure of physical activity captured with an Actigraph Monitor.
This was a well done study and it deserves to expanded to a larger population but I suspect that web based interventions will never be as effective as smart phone based solutions that allow both real-time, automated assessment and interventions can be pushed to patients immediately, as opposed to desktop solutions that require the user to log on to a computer outside of their natural routine.
The same group also had a poster reviewing web based interventions to increase physical activity in chronic diseases. They found 7 studies. They judged 5 to have high methodologic quality and 2 to be low. Of the 5 high quality studies 3 showed a positive effect and 2 non-significant effect.
Joel Topf, MD
eAJKD web advisory board member
Check out all of eAJKD’s coverage of Medicine 2.0 here.

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