Standardisation, multi-measure, data quality and trending: A qualitative study on multidisciplinary perspectives to improve intensive care early mobility monitoring

Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2021 Apr:63:102949. doi: 10.1016/j.iccn.2020.102949. Epub 2020 Nov 14.


Objective: To explore multi-clinician perspectives on intensive care early mobility, monitoring and to assess the perceived value of technology-generated mobility metrics to provide user feedback to inform research, practice improvement, and technology development.

Methods: We performed a qualitative descriptive study. Three focus groups were conducted with critical care clinicians, including nurses (n = 10), physical therapists (n = 8) and physicians (n = 8) at an academic medical centre that implemented an intensive care early mobility programme in 2012. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to code transcripts and identify overarching themes.

Findings: Along with reaffirming the value of performing early mobility interventions, four themes for improving mobility monitoring emerged, including the need for: 1) standardised indicators for documenting mobility; 2) inclusion of both quantitative and qualitative metrics to measure mobility 3) a balance between quantity and quality of data; and 4) trending mobility metrics over time.

Conclusion: Intensive care mobility monitoring should be standardised and data generated should be high quality, capable of supporting trend analysis, and meaningful. By improving measurement and monitoring of mobility, future researchers can examine the arc of activity that patients in the intensive care unit undergo and develop models to understand factors that influence successful implementation.

Keywords: Critical care; Early mobility; Fitness trackers; Focus groups; Interdisciplinary research; Measurement; Mobilisation; Nurses; Physical therapists; Physicians; Qualitative.

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care
  • Data Accuracy*
  • Early Ambulation
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Qualitative Research