discoveries magazine

Step It Up

fitbit, tech, healthcare, walking, illustration, Daria Kirpach

Daria Kirpach

Clinicians routinely monitor heart rate, blood pressure and other vital statistics to track a patient's progress after major surgery. Cedars-Sinai scientists recently demonstrated the benefits of also logging a patient's steps.

A new study led by prostate cancer surgeon Timothy Daskivich, MD, and Brennan Spiegel, MD, director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Education, found that each 100 steps a patient takes reduces the length of their hospital stay by 4%. (No further benefit was seen after the first 1,000 steps.) To help encourage movement, the team created a smartphone app that takes patients on a museum-style tour of the medical center’s art collection, while a Fitbit tallies their steps. Four art tours were created for each surgical unit, enabling patients to choose shorter or longer walks.

"We're operationalizing this popular tech device for a real clinical purpose, and using rigorous science to guide the process," says Daskivich, who is also director of Health Services Research for the Department of Surgery. "We think it’s exciting, and patients are responding to it."