ACSM: patient care could be improved by charting exercise levels
19th October 2012
Adding a vital sign for exercise as an assessment tool in clinical settings could improve patient care, according to research published in the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.
The study, published in the November edition of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, shows that asking patients about their exercise habits could be an important piece of a patient’s care and treatment that is often ignored.
The authors of the report reviewed data from April 2010 to March 2011 from more than 1.7 million outpatient visits to Kaiser Permanente care centre in Southern California, US. Kaiser Permanente began using the exercise vital sign in October 2009.
Patients at Kaiser are routinely asked questions about their usual daily levels of activity and are assigned a minutes-per-week value based on their answer.
Using a regression model, this study demonstrated that a greater disease burden increased the likelihood of physical inactivity among the sample patient population. As expected, researchers also found lower activity levels among patients who were older, obese or members of ethnic minorities.
Karen Coleman from Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Research and Evaluation – lead author of the study – said: “This research offers preliminary support that implementing an exercise vital sign in addition to the traditional vital signs – pulse, blood pressure, temperature, and respirations’ in a large health care system is very possible and could offer many benefits as well as additional patient data.”