OnTRACK (On Time to Rethink Activity Knowledge: A personalized mHealth coaching platform to tackle physical inactivity in COPD) was a 4-year research project that started in 2018 and ended in 2022, having its closing event last September 19 at the Health Innovation Hub of the Polytechnic of Leiria. The goal of the OnTRACK is to promote effective physical activity behaviors in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) through the development of an innovative digital platform for personalised coaching.
Joana Cruz, researcher at ciTechCare was the principal investigator of the project, alongside with Alda Marques from the Respiratory Research and Rehabilitation Laboratory (Lab3R) and iBiMED of the University of Aveiro.
This was an international project that counted also on the collaboration of University of Hasselt (Belgium), University of McMaster and West Park Healthcare Center (Canada).
On the closing event, Alda Marques, Chris Burtin, Joana Cruz, José Ribeiro and Ana Oliveira, researchers and consultants of the project, presented their perspective on the impact of COPD in daily life and the value of digital health in this project.
Isabel Saraiva, President of the patient association RESPIRA, and Filipa Januário, Physician at the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department of the Leiria Hospital Centre, brought the patients’ and healthcare professionals’ perspectives on the importance and challenges of physical activity promotion in COPD and valued the development of projects in this area to help patients be more physically activity in daily life.
The presentations stimulated an open discussion, highlighting the role that patients’ family play by being part of the therapeutic method and the importance of bringing patient perspective so that the disease management interventions, such as physical activity promotion, can be meaningful.
According to Nuno Rodrigues, Vice-president in research of the Polytechnic of Leiria, the Hub of Health Innovation has been “a place to share science and where researchers of a wide range of areas are integrated and work together” and this event was an important “demonstration of how ciTechCare has been fostering health research” by supporting projects with clinical relevance and societal impact, and by facilitating knowledge transfer from the academy to the community.