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Promoting health competence with a digital application: Adaptation and evaluation of the evidence based exercise program THüKo for patients with osteoarthritis.

Project description

Increasing costs in the health care system grow the importance of the individuals’ responsibility towards a health-promoting behavior. In this regard, digital applications have a high potential to provide assistance for patients. Regular exercise programs specifically tailored for patients with osteoarthritis are an example for an effective health promoting life-style intervention. Referring to this, the individual health competence plays a crucial role to be able to realize and regulate a self-administered, effective, safe and long-lasting exercise program. The promotion of health competence is therefore a relevant educational task in the context of rehabilitation of patients with chronic diseases. In the present research project, an evidence based exercise program for patients with hip osteoarthritis that is published as print media will be digitalized and made available for patients via a software application. Here, a challenging task will be to individualize the learning content for the promotion of health competence. Health competence and related learning contents can further be differentiated into the domains of movement competence relating to directly movement related requirements, control competence relating to adequate alignment of physical loads in terms of health and wellbeing and physical-activity related self-regulation that is needed for the integration of health-enhancing physical activity into everyday life.


The project will be realized in several steps. First, detailed contents of the application have to be defined and the required feedback loops developed and tested. Subsequently the digital application will be programmed and necessary video and audio tapes recorded. Functionality and applicability of the prototype will be evaluated in the context of a qualitative study. Findings will then be used to further develop the digital application, which will undergo another testing in a comprehensive field trial with patients with hip osteoarthritis. Outcome measures will be related to the acquisition of health competence and related key determinants. Efficacy of the digital application will be compared to the pre-existing exercise book. In doing so, the research project will gain insights into relevant mechanisms of media design for elderly and chronically sick patients in the area of health competence promotion. In addition it will be an initial seed point for an effective implementation of the findings into practical health promotion in the context of digital health applications.


This project requires professional competences in the fields of psychology, information technology, exercise science and sports medicine. These competences are represented by the research team consisting of scientists of the Department of Sportsmedicine of the University Hospital Tübingen, the Institute of Sports Science of Tübingen and the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, Tübingen.


  1. Project Team