Congress of Clinical Rheumatology Annual Meeting

Congress of Clinical Rheumatology Annual Meeting

May 07, 2019
1 min read

Wearable tech can help assess disease flares

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Judith A. James, MD
Judith A. James

DESTIN, Fla. — Wearables are being used by patients with rheumatologic disease and research has indicated that clinicians can use activity tracker data for flare assessment, according to an expert here at the Congress of Clinical Rheumatology.

“There have been several studies that looked at whether patients who had clinician-confirmed rheumatoid arthritis or axial spondylarthritis could identify when they were going to flare based upon changes in the number of steps,” said Judith A. James, MD, PhD, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Clinical Immunology Laboratory Director.

James described published research by Jacquemin and colleagues who studied patients with RA (n=91) and axial spondylarthritis (n=79) who wore an activity tracker watch every day for 3 months. She noted these patients “weren’t the sickest of the sick,” rather they had well-controlled disease.

Physical activity was measured as daily steps, total activity duration and whether the activity was moderate to vigorous, James said. Patients were able to see their own activity through the activity tracker watch app. Additionally, through a secure messaging app, each day patients would report flares, pain, global assessment and number of steps.

Self-reported flares were frequent, and patients reported “11 days out of 90 they had symptoms that they thought were indicative of their flares,” she said.

“Flares that lasted more than 3 days were associated with less weekly physical activity, decreased number of steps by close to 1,000 to 1,500, 12% to 21% relative decrease in steps and over 1 hour less in weekly activity,” James said.

“We are definitely going to be seeing more about integrating wearable information into studies that are done but also patients are bringing us their wearable information,” she said. “One of the things I found very striking is that there is an ICD-10 code if you put wearables into your [EMR].”

More research will be doing using wearables including technology to track sleep patterns, heart rate variability and activity, she said. – by Joan-Marie Stiglich, ELS


James JA. Biomarkers in connective tissue diseases. Presented at: Congress of Clinical Rheumatology; May 2-5, 2019; Destin, Fla.

Disclosures: James reports relationships with AbbVie, Janssen, PeerView and Progentec Biosciences.