Upgrading physical activity counselling in primary care in the Netherlands

Health Promot Int. 2016 Jun;31(2):344-54. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dau107. Epub 2014 Dec 23.


The systematic development of a counselling protocol in primary care combined with a monitoring and feedback tool to support chronically ill patients to achieve a more active lifestyle. An iterative user-centred design method was used to develop a counselling protocol: the Self-management Support Programme (SSP). The needs and preferences of future users of this protocol were identified by analysing the literature, through qualitative research, and by consulting an expert panel. The counselling protocol is based on the Five A's model. Practice nurses apply motivational interviewing, risk communication and goal setting to support self-management of patients in planning how to achieve a more active lifestyle. The protocol consists of a limited number of behaviour change consultations intertwined with interaction with and responses from the It's LiFe! monitoring and feedback tool. This tool provides feedback on patients' physical activity levels via an app on their smartphone. A summary of these levels is automatically sent to the general practice so that practice nurses can respond to this information. A SSP to stimulate physical activity was defined based on user requirements of care providers and patients, followed by a review by a panel of experts. By following this user-centred approach, the organization of care was carefully taken into account, which has led to a practical and affordable protocol for physical activity counselling combined with mobile technology.

Keywords: physical activity; primary care nursing; remote sensing technology; self-management.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling* / methods
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Formative Feedback
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Primary Health Care* / methods
  • Quality Improvement