Research Output

Data management and wearables in older adults: A systematic review.

  Background: Wearable trackers as research or clinical tools are increasingly used to support the care of older adults, due to their practicality in self-monitoring and potential to promote healthy lifestyle behaviours. However, limited understanding of appropriate data collection methods and analysis for different contexts still exists. Aim: To summarise evidence on wearable data generation and management in older adults, focusing on physical activity (PA),
electrocardiogram (ECG), and vital signs monitoring. In addition to examine the accuracy and utility of incorporating wearable trackers into care of older people. Methods: A systematic search of CINAHL, MEDLINE, PubMed and a manual search were conducted. Twenty studies targeting wearable tracker use in older adults met inclusion criteria.
Results: Methodological designs for data collection and analysis were heterogeneous with diverse definitions of wear and no-wear time, the number and type of valid days, and proprietary algorithms. Wearable trackers had adequate accuracy for measuring step counts, moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), ECG and heart rate (HR), but not
for respiratory rate. Participants reported ease of use and had high-level adherence over daily long-term use.
Moreover, wearable trackers encouraged users to increase their daily PA level and decrease waist circumference, facilitating atrial fibrillation (AF) diagnoses and predicting length of stay. Conclusion: Wearable trackers are multidimensional technologies offering a viable and promising approach for sustained and scaled monitoring of older people’s health. Framework and/or guidelines including standards for the design, data management and application of use specifically for older adults is required to enhance validity and reliability.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    18 March 2019

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    RT Nursing

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    610.73 Nursing

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Straiton, N., Alharbi, M., Smith, S., Neubeck, L., & Gallagher, R. (2019). Data management and wearables in older adults: A systematic review. Maturitas, 124, 100-110.



older, physical activity, wearable, sensor, monitor, tracker

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