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Measuring participation in MS with the Whereabouts app

· 1 min read

Multiple Sclerosis can impact daily life and involvement in societal activities (participation). How do you decide which activities you want to participate in? The MS Center Amsterdam and Orikami have developed the smartphone application ‘Whereabouts’ to map societal activities outside of the home. Their research showed that the app can measure different types of activities and the amount of strain and meaningfulness of these activities.

Results are recently published in the scientific journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The Whereabouts app was tested by 72 persons with MS. They used the app for 10 days on their smartphone.

Measuring participation

The app could measure the type, frequency and duration of almost all activities (96.1%). More than half of the users (57.3%) was satisfied with the usability of the app. Slightly more users (59.7%) noted that the measurements gave a realistic overview of their daily activities. Mentioned points of improvements for the app were: being able to specify activities indoors, to correct mistakes in measurements, seeing the results in a simple graph. In summary, the Whereabouts app is a good method to measure individual meaningful societal participation.


An overview of societal participation activities and how these are experienced, gives insight in which activities are important for a person with MS. This can help to decide which activities are important to participate in or not. The Whereabouts app could certainly contribute to this in the future.

Whereabouts app

This research is sponsored by The Dutch MS Research Foundation.

Original publication

A smartphone application to assess real-time and individual-specific societal participation. A development and usability study.

Maaike Ouwerkerk, Isaline Eijssen, Meike van der Linden, Inez Wijnands, Frank Dorssers, Marc Rietberg, Heleen Beckerman, Vincent de Groot. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2022 Mar 12.