Published: 25-01-2016 10:15 | Updated: 31-10-2019 13:45

New app will help patients with rheumatoid arthritis to everyday physical activity

This spring the first version of the mHealth service tRAppen will be released. It is hoped that it will provide patients with better opportunity to take responsibility for and affect their health positively. The development of tRAppen is described in a thesis who Åsa Revenäs, physiotherapist and PhD at the Division of Physiotherapy, defended on the 5th of February 2016.

Young woman using a hammer to nail her doctoral thesis to the wall.
Åsa Revenäs, credit: NVS.

What is the main focus of your thesis?

The thesis is a description of the process and result of co-designing a mobile Internet service for self-management of everyday physical activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It provides a description of the challenges of co-design, the features in tRAppen and how it evolves during the process, and the results from the first evaluation of the service. The mHealth service tRAppen was developed in collaboration with the lead users, i.e. people with RA, researcher and clinical physiotherapists and system developers.

Which are the most important results?

The co-design process resulted in tRAppen, which includes two key components: a peer group for inspiration, encouragements and advice, and self-regulation including personal goal set, activity planning and registration and feedback. Co-design implied merging of different perspectives. This put high demands on the participants’ ability to find solutions, negotiate, come to agreements and reach final decisions.

The first test version of tRAppen was perceived as feasible, and with the potential to support a physically active lifestyle. The need for and experience with the different features in tRAppen was influenced by the participants physical and mental health state and personal preferences.

How can this new knowledge be useful for people, or contribute in improving their health?

Physical activity improves both physical and mental health in people with RA. tRAppen aims to facilitate physical activity maintenance. During spring 2016 the first version of tRAppen will be launched and accessible for people with RA living in Sweden.

Self-management services such as tRAppen provide people with the opportunity to take responsibility for their own health, which may lead to reduced health care utilization. The thesis also provides knowledge about the collaboration between patients, researchers, health care providers and system developers in the development of eHealth services to improve peoples’ health.

What is in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?

During this spring I will continue to develop tRAppen and launch the first version of the service in Sweden. I will also work in another research project at KI co-designing a health care service to improve health in people with Parkinson’s diseases and to facilitate the collaboration between patients and health care providers.

tRAppen is available for free for people with inflammatory rheumatic disease (e.g. RA, psoriasis arthritis, AS, myositis) in Sweden. You can access tRAppens’ homepage through KIs’ and the Swedish Rheumatism Associations’ homepages ( On the homepage you can sign in as an individual. You will then be assigned a group with 12-15 members. You can also sign in an already existing group. The homepage also provides information for health care providers on how tRAppen works and can be used.


The thesis

Co-designing a mobile Internet service for self-management of physical activity in rheumatoid arthritis