2021 CMSC Annual Meeting

Assessing the Benefits of Using Telehealth in Conjunction with a Fitbit to Improve Walking in Veterans with Multiple Sclerosis


Background: Patients with multiple sclerosis often have limitations with mobility due to fatigue, weakness, and impairments with balance and coordination. Many of these patients decrease their activity and walking due to these limitations, which can lead to further deconditioning. Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine improvements in walking distance and perceived impact of walking ability in patients with Multiple Sclerosis using a Fitbit in conjunction with Tele-rehabilitation. Methods: This was a Pilot of 4 patients. Patients are issued a Fitbit Inspire device and asked for a self-perception of daily step count at evaluation. The MSW-12 is given to assess patient perceived walking abilities prior to completing the program and after completing the program. Patients are asked to do their normal activity until the first telehealth session. At the first telehealth session the therapist views the patients walking log and establishes a weekly goal. 12 telehealth sessions are held over the course of the program to monitor progress and re-establish weekly step goals as indicated. The final session involves post evaluation measures and plans for continued independent walking program. Results: Patient 1 had an increase of 2,907 steps and patient 2 had an increase of 4,351 steps over the course of the program. The other 2 patients are still active in the program and results are to be determined. Conclusions: Patients who used a Fitbit along with tele-rehabilitation improved their walking activity which may lead to improved overall health, mobility, and independence.