Daily Monitoring of Mobility as an Indicator of Wellbeing Among Individuals with Chronic Disease

  • Amit Birenboim
  • A. Yair Grinberger
  • Enrico M. Novelli
  • Charles R. Jonassaint
Part of the Applying Quality of Life Research book series (BEPR)


Reduced mobility is associated with decrease in both hedonic and eudemonic aspects of well-being. The current chapter investigates the potential of employing smartphone location tracking to investigate the association between deteriorating mobility and wellbeing among individuals with chronic disease during daily activity. The locations of 36 patients with sickle cell disease, a genetic disorder that affects the production of hemoglobin, were tracked continuously every 2 min using participants’ smartphones to allow the calculation of movement parameters such as walking and driving distance and speed. The results of the study were mixed. (1) While smartphone tracking could be performed continuously for long periods of time for some patients (e.g. more than 100 days of tacking), data quality was not consistent for other patients. Twenty-one out the 36 patients enrolled had poor or no spatial information. Based on the results of other studies, we suspect that this is mainly due to motivational factors (e.g. participants did not keep the phone’s location services on) and not a fault of the hardware. We conclude that future studies should implement some incentive or feedback mechanism that will enhance motivation of participants. (2) The association between daily mobility parameters and physical and mental wellbeing (i.e. depression, pain level) were in the expected direction, but results were not significant for the most part. While this could be attributed to the small sample of the study, it might also be the case that other indicators which better represent the tempo-spatial context of human behavior should be considered in the future.


Sickle-cell disease Mobility Smartphone Wellbeing Chronic disease 



This work was supported by the following grants and institutions: The interdisciplinary Healthy Urban Living research program of Utrecht University, NIH grant 1 R01 HL127107-01A1, University of Pittsburgh Vascular Medicine Institute P3HVBI Award and NHLBI K23HL135396-01.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amit Birenboim
    • 1
  • A. Yair Grinberger
    • 2
  • Enrico M. Novelli
    • 3
  • Charles R. Jonassaint
    • 3
  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Heidelberg UniversityHeidelbergGermany
  3. 3.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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