Patient involvement is an area of healthcare that continues to get more and more attention is research and studies continue to show its great benefits. Getting patients involved is key and that why healthcare organization continue to seek How Patients Can Monitor Their Own Data. The best way to do this by implementing technology through self-monitoring devices. These devices vary but the most common ones that become more popular in the past 5 years has been pedometer.

The use of pedometers started off is a trend with everyone rocking those plastic bands, counting their steps and using apps to track their activity. Is trendy is it was, it was actually leading to breakthrough in improving population health is people become more aware of their health and thus more involved in the kind of care they needed or recieved.Healthcare Summit

All About Pedometers

In general, pedometers work when you move your legs, i.e when you walk, run, dance, climb, run outside or on a treadmill etc. But they don’t work if you swim, bike, row, ski etc. There are several brand of pedometers but basically there are just two types. The two types are spring-levered and piezoelectric pedometers.

TYPES OF PEDOMETERS

Healthcare SummitSpring-levered

Spring-levered pedometers use a spring suspended horizontal lever to move up and down in response to the movement or vertical acceleration of a person’s hips as they walk or run. The movement or motion opens and closes an electrical circuit as the lever arm makes contact. Is this contact is made, a step is registered. And that, is the science of how steps are counted. Spring levered pedometers only work when they are on a vertical plane. If they are tipped forward horizontally, they don’t work. This means the don’t work on a horizontal plane so they have to be placed on a vertical plane and have to stay that way.

Piezoelectric Pedometers

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Flickr.com – MJ Klaver

A piezoelectric pedometer uses a horizontal cantilevered beam with a weight on the end that compresses a piezoelectric crystal when subjected to movement like walking or running. This generates a voltage proportional to the acceleration and the voltage oscillations are used to record steps. A piezoelectric pedometer generates electric charges when it is mechanically deformed.

Choosing A Pedometer

AccuracyHealthcare Summit

The most important thing to look for when choosing a pedometer is its accuracy. This should go without saying but that isn’t the case. Almost ever pedometer if not all, have an error rate but some more than others. Some track some metrics better than others like some pedometers are great for tracking steps accurately but do not track calories that well.

Many people have argued that pedometers are not quite accurate when it comes to measuring distance covered and calories lost. There is some accuracy to this (no pun intended). In general the accuracy of pedometers in measuring calories can be off by 30% and accuracy in measuring distance can be off by about 10%. They have a tendency to give wrong estimates of distance and number of calories.

For example at slower speed, it is likely your distance covered with be overestimated by your pedometer and at faster speeds your distance will be underestimated. So yes, the technology could be improved upon and will be improved upon as time goes on.

However, despite its inaccuracy, a pedometer is still great for measuring steps and tracking how much movement you get in a day or a given period of time and this is a good thing. When choosing a pedometer, do some research and read review so you can get the pedometer that has the most accuracy for your specific needs.

DesignHealthcare Summit

Once you’ve got the accuracy settled, the next thing you need to take note of is the design. Design in this sense goes beyond just aestetics is the design style goes a long way to either help or hinder its usability based on your needs. Pedometers come in various designs and there is always a variety of selections to choose from.

Some pedometers can be worn in different ways , like on the wrist, clipped to clothing or around the ankle. Some also come with accessories that you can change up to go with your specific look. There are even some you can wear around your neck like a necklace.

Another design feature to look for is if they are waterproof or water resistant. Some pedometers are water resistant but not fully waterproof while some are fully waterproof. Chose based on your needs and maye the climate/weather of where you live.

Another design feature is the display screen. This affects the aesthetic look of a pedometer but also has other uses. Devices with screens can show you real time data on your daily progress while devices without screens are usually connected to apps and you can check you progress on these apps downloaded onto your phone or computer or tablet.  

Lastly, check the battery life of the pedometer. Do you need to buy batteries? Do you need to charge it using a USB or does it come with its own charger. All these are some of the design features you need to take not off when choosing a pedometer.

AppsHealthcare Summit

Speaking of apps. All pedometers come with accompanying apps that can be downloaded on mobile devices to track the data it collects. With this apps, you can keep track of your progress, set goals, and study your progress. Some apps are easier to use and understand than others so make sure you take a look at what the app looks like before you buy it. For example, if you have an iPhone, some pedometer apps sync with your iphone Health app and gets data already stored there to make things easier for you.