Preventing Complications with Improved Physical Activity: Can Self-Monitoring Technologies Help?


Principal Investigator: Linda Li, PT, PhD.  Senior Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada, Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia


Study Start Date: 2015   

Study End Date: 2019 


What were the key findings?

  • We developed a web application called FitViz which gathers data from patients’ Fitbit and allows their health professionals to use this data in setting personalized goals with the patient.
  • The use of Fitbit and FitViz appeared to increased physical activity awareness, and helped in setting realistic goals.
  • But, some interview participants expressed that they did not trust the Fitbit/FitViz recording of their goal achievement.
  • We have used these findings to refine the technology-based intervention for patients with arthritis.


What was done?

We conducted a pilot study with 20 patients with RA or knee OA, of those 11 were interviewed to share their experiences after using Fitbit and FitViz for a month.


Who was involved?

Physiotherapists and individuals who were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus or osteoarthritis.



Lynne Feehan, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, UBC
Diane Gromala, PhD, Professor, School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Simon Fraser University.
Chris Shaw, PhD, Professor, Associate Director, School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Simon Fraser University.


Who funded this research?

This study was part of PRECISION: Preventing Complications from Inflammatory Skin, Joint and Bowel Conditions, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.



Gupta A, Heng T, Shaw C, Li LC, Feehan LM. Designing pervasive technology for physical activity self-management in arthritis patients. Conference Proceeding. The 12th EAI International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, PervasiveHealth’18, May 2018. New York, USA.


Gupta A, Tong X, Shaw C, Li LC, Feehan L. FitViz: A personal informatics tool for self-management of rheumatoid arthritis. Conference Proceeding. In: Stephanidis C. (eds) HCI International 2017 – Posters’ Extended Abstracts. HCI 2017. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 714. Springer, Cham. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-58753-0_35. Vancouver, BC.