Background: Detailed understanding of impairments that underlie walking dysfunction through objective measures is essential to diagnosis, evaluation and care planning. Despite significant developments in motion tracking technologies, there is a dearth of research about the influence of remote monitoring context on performance. The objective of this study was to determine whether gait parameters collected by the OneStep smartphone application differ based on the recording condition.
Methods: Retrospective repeated measures univariate analysis was performed on data extracted based on detected activity, either spontaneous (background recording) or consciously initiated (in app) walks, of 25 patients enrolled in a physical therapy program.
Findings: Across 7227 walking bouts, significant differences between the two paradigms in velocity (g = 0.48), double support (g = 0.37), stride length (g = 0.37) and step length of the affected side (g = 0.32) were revealed. Overall, the passively recorded walks presented a less clinically favorable spatiotemporal pattern for each of these variables.
Interpretation: The recording context of walks that were used for analysis appears to significantly affect the biomechanical output of the OneStep application. It is unclear whether the disparity found would impact functional recovery of individuals undergoing rehabilitation due to neurological or musculoskeletal disorder. Clinicians may consider this information when incorporating remotely-acquired quantitative gait analysis and interpreting care outcomes as part of therapeutic practice. Future work can further investigate the behavioral and environmental factors contributing to how movement occurs in specific clinical populations when monitored via mobile health systems.
Keywords: Functional ambulation; Gait (analysis); Kinematics; Remote patient monitoring; mHealth.
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