Usefulness of wearable cameras as a tool to enhance chronic disease self-management: Scoping review

Ralph Maddison*, Susie Cartledge, Michelle Rogerson, Nicole Sylvia Goedhart, Tarveen Ragbir Singh, Christopher Neil, Dinh Phung, Kylie Ball

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Background: Self-management is a critical component of chronic disease management and can include a host of activities, such as adhering to prescribed medications, undertaking daily care activities, managing dietary intake and body weight, and proactively contacting medical practitioners. The rise of technologies (mobile phones, wearable cameras) for health care use offers potential support for people to better manage their disease in collaboration with their treating health professionals. Wearable cameras can be used to provide rich contextual data and insight into everyday activities and aid in recall. This information can then be used to prompt memory recall or guide the development of interventions to support self-management. Application of wearable cameras to better understand and augment self-management by people with chronic disease has yet to be investigated.
    Objective: The objective of our review was to ascertain the scope of the literature on the use of wearable cameras for self-management by people with chronic disease and to determine the potential of wearable cameras to assist people to better manage their disease.
    Methods: We conducted a scoping review, which involved a comprehensive electronic literature search of 9 databases in July 2017. The search strategy focused on studies that used wearable cameras to capture one or more modifiable lifestyle risk factors associated with chronic disease or to capture typical self-management behaviors, or studies that involved a chronic disease population. We then categorized and described included studies according to their characteristics (eg, behaviors measured, study design or type, characteristics of the sample).
    Results: We identified 31 studies: 25 studies involved primary or secondary data analysis, and 6 were review, discussion, or descriptive articles. Wearable cameras were predominantly used to capture dietary intake, physical activity, activities of daily living, and sedentary behavior. Populations studied were predominantly healthy volunteers, school students, and sports people, with only 1 study examining an intervention using wearable cameras for people with an acquired brain injury. Most studies highlighted technical or ethical issues associated with using wearable cameras, many of which were overcome.
    Conclusions: This scoping review highlighted the potential of wearable cameras to capture health-related behaviors and risk factors of chronic disease, such as diet, exercise, and sedentary behaviors. Data collected from wearable cameras can be used as an adjunct to traditional data collection methods such as self-reported diaries in addition to providing valuable contextual information. While most studies to date have focused on healthy populations, wearable cameras offer promise to better understand self-management of chronic disease and its context.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere10371
    JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2019


    This research was conducted as part of a Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant, Australia (101348). KB was supported by a Principal Research Fellowship from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (ID 1042442). The contents of this paper are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding bodies.

    FundersFunder number
    Australian National Health and Medical Research Council
    National Health and Medical Research Council1042442
    National Heart Foundation of Australia101348


      • Cameras
      • Chronic disease
      • eHealth
      • Life-logging
      • Lifestyle behavior
      • Review


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