• Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • physical activity;
  • monitoring;
  • technology



The aim of the present study was to qualitatively explore users' experiences of home monitoring of health with specific regard to physical activity monitors.


Fourteen participants were randomly selected from a larger sample of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who had taken part in a physical activity monitoring study and had worn two physical activity monitors for seven days in their homes. These individuals were assigned to one of two focus groups. Each focus group lasted for between 40 minutes and an hour and was audio-recorded. A semi-structured questioning route was used, followed by subsequent theoretical thematic analysis.


No statistically significant differences were noted in the demographic factors between those who took part in the focus groups and the entire RA sample. Three distinct themes were identified: i) Experiences of having health monitored in the home, which was found to be largely positive; ii) Experiences of use of specific technology to monitor physical activity, which was generally reported as unobtrusive and not to impact significantly negatively on their daily life; iii) Perceptions and experiences of physical activity and exercise, which monitoring was reported to facilitate focusing on physical activity choices.


These focus groups were the first to highlight the perceptions held by individuals with RA regarding home monitoring and, in particular, physical activity monitoring. This has implications for those planning interventions for this group which involve home monitoring. Interesting findings were also highlighted regarding the perceptions and understanding of physical activity and exercise among people with RA. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.