MOBIlity assessment with modern TEChnology in older patients’ real-life by the General Practitioner (MOBITEC-GP)


Maintaining physical functioning plays an important role, especially in older age, in preventing chronic diseases or preventing their progression. Mobility, a key component of physical functioning, has high predictive power for health-related consequences, such as nursing home admission or mortality. Early detection of deterioration in mobility opens up the opportunity to intervene and take appropriate action. Modern technologies such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) and accelerometry provide the ability to track the mobility of older individuals over time. Advantages of these measurement techniques are that the mobility of older people can be recorded in a real-life setting and in interaction with their environment, and that these technologies are integrated into any modern smartphone.


The overall goal of the project was to provide general practitioners (GPs) with a smartphone-based method for measuring the mobility of their older patients. In addition to the development of the new application, the project tested its reliability, validity and applicability in GP practice.


In close cooperation with the Institute of Geography of the University of Zurich (Prof. Dr. R. Weibel), the Center for Primary Health Care of the University of Basel (Prof. Dr. A. Zeller), and the Gerontology Research Center of the University of Jyväskylä (Prof. Dr. T. Rantanen) a smartphone application (see Resources) has been developed in a multi-phase process to measure walking speed and spatial mobility under everyday conditions. After the first development phase, the reliability and validity of the application was tested first (study part 1). After the second development phase, the applicability in everyday life and the acceptance by patients and GPs was investigated (study part 1).


In the first study part with 57 participants with a mean age of 75 years, the reliability and validity of the mobility measurement with the smartphone was mostly moderate to excellent, depending on the parameter measured (Giannouli et al. 2022).

In the second study part, 60 older potential users of the app (mean age 74 years) and 57 GPs (mean age 53 years) were studied. The results are currently being published.


The new application should enable GPs to recognize limitations in the functional or spatial mobility of their patients at an early stage, so that the quality of life and independence of the patients can be maintained for as long as possible.

Project lead

PD Dr. Timo Hinrichs (Principal Investigator; Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel)

Prof. Dr. Robert Weibel (Leader of technical development; Department of Geography, Geographic Information Systems Unit, University of Zurich)

Project coordination

Dr. Eleftheria Giannouli (Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel)

Project partners

Prof. Dr. Haosheng Huang (Department of Geography, Ghent University, Belgium)

Dr. Denis Infanger (Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel)

Prof. Dr. Erja Portegijs (Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

Prof. Dr. Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss (Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel)

Prof. Dr. Taina Rantanen (Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences & Gerontology Research Center, University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

Prof. Dr. Andreas Zeller (Center for Primary Health Care, University of Basel)


Velux Stiftung, Project No. 1155




Giannouli E, Hinrichs T: Messung der Mobilität älterer Menschen – Smartphone-App unterstützt primäre Gesundheitsversorgung. pt – Zeitschrift für Physiotherapeuten 2021, 73(9):26-9.

Giannouli E, Kim EK, Fu C, Weibel R, Sofios A, Infanger D, Portegijs E, Rantanen T, Huang H, Schmidt-Trucksäss A, Zeller A, Rössler R, Hinrichs T: Psychometric properties of the MOBITEC-GP mobile application for real-life mobility assessment in older adults. Geriatric Nursing 2022, 48:273-9.

Hansen C, Giannouli E, Fleiner T: Geriatrie 4.0. pt – Zeitschrift für Physiotherapeuten 2021, 72(7):31-5.

Münch M, Weibel R, Sofios A, Huang H, Infanger D, Portegijs E, Giannouli E, Mundwiler J, Conrow L, Rantanen T, Schmidt-Trucksäss A, Zeller A, Hinrichs T: MOBIlity assessment with modern TEChnology in older patients’ real-life by the General Practitioner: the MOBITEC-GP study protocol. BMC Public Health 2019, 19(1):1703.

Seinsche J, Jansen CP, Roth S, Zijlstra W, Hinrichs T, Giannouli E: Multidimensional interventions to increase life-space mobility in older adults ranging from nursing home residents to community-dwelling: a systematic scoping review. BMC Geriatrics 2023, 23: 412.