Impact of wearable technology on psychosocial factors of osteoarthritis management: a qualitative study

BMJ Open. 2016 Feb 3;6(2):e010064. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010064.


Objectives: To identify the impact the use of wearable technology could have in patients with osteoarthritis in terms of communication with healthcare providers and patients' empowerment to manage their condition.

Design: Qualitative study using focus groups with patients with osteoarthritis; data from patients' responses were analysed using Framework Methodology.

Participants: 21 patients with knee osteoarthritis from the London area (age range 45-65 years) participated in a total of four focus groups. Recruitment continued until data saturation.

Setting: The study was conducted in a university setting.

Results: Patients' responses suggested a positive attitude on the impact wearable technology could have on the management of osteoarthritis. It was perceived that the use of wearable devices would benefit patients in terms of feeling in control of their condition, providing them with awareness of their progress, empowering in terms of self-management and improving communication with their clinician.

Conclusions: This paper suggests positive patient perspectives on the perceived benefits wearable technology could have on the management of osteoarthritis. The data that could be collected with the use of wearable technology could be beneficial both to patients and clinicians. The information obtained from this study suggests that introducing wearable technology into patient-centred care could enhance patient experience in the field of osteoarthritis and beyond.

Keywords: Focus groups; Osteoarthritis; Rehabilitation; wearable technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Communication
  • Disease Management
  • Equipment and Supplies*
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • London
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Care*
  • Technology*