Starting points and references

Specific Topics to initiate discussion.

The following topics will serve only as starting points to encourage and catalyze discussions and interactions among participants.

  • Obesity The growing problem of obesity worldwide calls for innovative approaches to reduce major risk factors such as physical inactivity at the population level. Principles of ambient/environmental persuasion together with activity monitoring sensors could be combined into effective tools.
  • Depression and Anxiety as Co-morbidities. Quite apart from being chronic mental health illnesses per se, Depression, and Anxiety, are often present as comorbidities in chronic conditions like Diabetes, stroke, and those undergoing cancer treatment. The proposed laboratory can undertake large scale studies using mobile technology integrated with microlocation systems (Beacons) to identify patients’ movements within their homes and interactions with family members. Analysis of these patterns can uncover the presence of Depression and Anxiety and lead to early interventions. These interventions can include not only medication but also behavioral therapies such as mindfulness, meditations and similar that can be provided by means of mobile augmented reality systems to be developed and tested in the proposed Laboratory. These behavioral therapies fall within persuasive technology principles called Simulation and rehearsal.
  • Rural and Global Health: Designing mobile systems technologies integrated with mobile sensors, based upon principles of Persuasive systems to enhance the care-giving performance of rural and community health workers in the US, and global health contexts is also a major focus of the Laboratory. In rural areas of the US and in developing countries of South America, Africa, and Asia, Community Health workers (CHWs) are the only healthcare providers for hundreds of millions. Mobile health tools, of the kind to be developed and tested in the proposed laboratory can greatly aid CHWs, improve their performance and improve outcomes. Studies in Colombia and rural South India [21-24],   have shown that the use of media-rich mobile health tools designed according to Persuasive design principles can decrease errors by 35% (p < 0.05) increase protocol compliance by 30% (p <0.05), decrease perceived workload, and are rated very high with respect to usability and acceptability by CHWs and patients.
  • Diabetes: Currently the increasing prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes is of great public health concern, especially with respect to minority populations. Systems consisting of a mobile app integrated with medical sensors such as glucometers, wearable physical activity monitors, and beacons could be very useful to diabetic patients if its design were to be based on principles from Persuasive Technology [1-4], ambient persuasion and research by urban planners/architects on design of spaces that enhance healthy behaviors   [28-31].  Such a system could serve as a Care Management Companion (CMC) to the patient.
  • Low educational attainment and socio-economic status constitute serious barriers to patient self-management and health literacy across all manner of health conditions. What is the role of media-rich mobile apps as well as augmented and virtual reality to assist such populations?


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