Article Title

Building an Interactive Platform for Physical Activity Coaching

Publication Date



COPD, intervention


Background/Aims: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who are physically inactive have worse outcomes. The evidence is unequivocal that intensive supervised exercise training as part of pulmonary rehabilitation, a guideline-recommended therapy, improves symptoms, physical functioning and quality of life and reduces hospitalizations for COPD exacerbations. However, patient participation in supervised exercise at center-based programs is very low, which undermines the wide scale adoption of this approach in real-world clinical settings for large numbers of patients. Alternative models to center-based rehabilitation that are more patient-centered, scalable and sustainable are needed in order to reach patients who otherwise would not have other options. The aim of this project was to develop an integrated informatics architecture to support the implementation of a patient-centered, technology-enabled physical activity coaching intervention model (Walk On!) for patients with COPD.

Methods: A multidisciplinary team of researchers, clinicians, innovation consultants and software developers, as well as patient end users, embarked on an iterative design process over the course of 6 months to build out three key components of the Walk On! platform. An interactive voice response (IVR) module was developed to collect physical activity and symptom data from patients who do not have access to the Internet. An existing vendor supported Web-based physical activity application paired with a wireless sensor was modified for use by patients with Internet access. Finally, an interactive Web-based dashboard was created to visually summarize the integrated physical activity and symptom data from the IVR and Web-based systems for the activity coaches to review patients’ progress and conduct targeted outreach to support patients’ efforts to be physically active.

Results: We have completed the IVR module build and are close to completing the enhancements to the physical activity Web-based application. Building the dashboard that integrates data from these two sources has required significant effort, especially the user-interface, coding the dynamic functions and building the data back-end. The platform will be pilot tested on 30 patients starting in December 2014.

Discussion: We will present data from our pilot at the HMORN meeting. The Walk On! platform is designed to be usable, scalable and generalizable.




March 31st, 2015


April 28th, 2015