Recently, the Mayo Clinic conducted a study using Fitbit activity trackers to monitor recovery time in cardiac surgery patients. Tracking steps with Fitbit is an easy and cost-effective way for surgical technologists to gather preliminary data that can be used to help hospitals determine the appropriate length of stay for patients recovering from surgery.
Patients with the shortest hospital stays showed the most reported activity on Fitbit, showing a correlation between mobility and recovery. Authors of the study claim they can use Fitbit technology to establish a baseline for patient mobility, and can use this information to determine if patients are recovering and moving at an above or below average rate.
From there, more attention can be paid to patients who are not recovering as quickly as they should be, and further predictions can be made regarding their total length of stay in the hospital.
According to Time, “Patients who took the most steps everyday were significantly more likely to leave the hospital earlier than those who were less mobile. Those who walked around 818 steps by the second day after surgery spent less than five days in the hospital, while those who walked only 220 steps were hospitalized for more than six days.”
Though the study involved only a small number of patients, the researchers couldn’t conclude whether there was a threshold of activity that predicted faster recovery. But, with more studies involving the gathering of data from monitoring devices, it may be possible to determine how much activity is required of patient in order to recover quickly and safely.