Update from the Field with UPMC

We are excited to be working with Dr. Colin Champ  at UPMC on his study to quantify the role of activity in the recovery of oncology patients undergoing radiation treatment (read more here).  Though it’s widely hypothesized that staying active is important to recovery, objectively tracking and analyzing data on the topic is notoriously difficult. Most studies that attempt to measure the effect of activity rely on patient questionnaires, however there is little consensus on the content or format of these instruments. (1) The current tools lack of an underlying conceptual framework for measuring activity and are limited by the inherent challenge of recall and subjectivity when patients are responding to questions in a clinical setting. All of this has led to suggestions that the standard measures might be discarded in favor of new technology to capture activity. (2)

Dr. Champ is taking on multiple elements of this challenge. First, he’s using the Misfit accelerometer to capture patient’s daily steps, exercise duration as well as sleep.  To further reduce the chance for bias, we’ve collaborated on a protocol to blind the patients to the data they would normally see from the device or software, reducing the potential influence of ongoing feedback.  We are very pleased to be working with Dr. Champ to evolve the way interventions are measured with the ultimate goal of supporting cancer patients more effectively during a very difficult point in their lives.

Read more from:


(1) Williams K, Frei A, Vetsch A, Dobbels F, Puhan MA, Rüdell K. Patient-reported physical activity questionnaires: A systematic review of content and format.Health and Quality of Life Outcomes. 2012;10:28. doi:10.1186/1477-7525-10-28.

(2) Gimeno-Santos E, Frei A, Dobbels F, Rüdell K, Puhan MA, Garcia-Aymerich J. Validity of instruments to measure physical activity may be questionable due to a lack of conceptual frameworks: a systematic review. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes. 2011;9:86. doi:10.1186/1477-7525-9-86.

By Chris Benko, CEO of Koneksa Health