Currently we are witnessing an exciting explosion of computing-based technologies. Smart mobile devices, including phones, tablets, smart watches, wearable sensors, beacons, augmented reality, Virtual reality, ubiquitous social network access, Internet of Things, are becoming rapidly more affordable. Among other benefits, this means that sophisticated computing, communications, display, immersive, and sensing devices potentially capable of providing real-time highly relevant assistance to humans, are becoming pervasive and ubiquitous. However the ready availability and rapid advancement in the capabilities of these technologies raises a challenge of overload: How can we make the most effective use of the bewildering array of these devices/technologies to improve outcomes and enhance the quality of life among those afflicted with medical conditions, decrease health disparities, enhance patient engagement, promote healthful behaviors and continued wellness of those who are healthy.
The disciplines of Persuasive Technology and Behavior Change Support Systems offer a potentially effective theoretical foundation for addressing this challenge. In particular, PT could be a framework for translational science, specifically for converting health research and evidence-based guidelines into actionable, easy-to-use mobile and pervasive tools that include, among others, anytime-anywhere media-rich advice, augmented/virtual reality gamifications, social networks, and simulations. A related development is in the area of ambient/environmental persuasion , in which empirical research and published literature confirm that the design of cities, suburbs, neighborhoods, and workplaces can improve or deteriorate population health . Recent research and analyses regarding mobile technologies for both patients and health workers provide intriguing evidence to support the notion that PT and modern technologies can be synergistic for both healthworkers and patients in both developed and developing countries.