Using a Real-Time Location System for Assessment of Patient Ambulation in a Hospital Setting

In cheol Jeong, David Bychkov, Stephanie Hiser, Julie D. Kreif, Lisa M. Klein, Erik H. Hoyer, Peter C. Searson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective To assess the feasibility of using an infrared-based Real-Time Location System (RTLS) for measuring patient ambulation in a 2-minute walk test (2MWT) by comparing the distance walked and the Johns Hopkins Highest Level of Mobility (JH-HLM) score to clinician observation as a criterion standard. Design Criterion standard validation study. Setting Inpatient, university hospital. Participants Patients (N=25) in an adult neuroscience/brain rescue unit. Interventions Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures RTLS and clinician-reported ambulation distance in feet, and JH-HLM score on an 8-point ordinal scale. Results The RTLS ambulation distance for the 25 patients in the 2MWT was between 68 and 516ft. The mean difference between clinician-reported and RTLS ambulation distance was 8.4±11.7ft (2.7%±4.6%). The correlation between clinician-reported and RTLS ambulation distance was 97.9% (P<.01). The clinician-reported ambulation distance for 2 patients was +100ft and −99ft compared with the RTLS distance, implying clinician error in counting the number of laps (98ft). The correlation between the RTLS distance and clinician-reported distance excluding these 2 patients is 99.8% (P<.01). The accuracy of the RTLS for assessment of JH-HLM score for all 25 patients was 96%. The average patient speed obtained from RTLS data varied between 0.4 and 3.0mph. Conclusions The RTLS is able to accurately measure patient ambulation and calculate JH-HLM for a 2MWT when compared with clinician observation as the criterion standard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1366-1373.e1
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Rehabilitation
  • Walk test
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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