User-adaptive reminders for home-based medical tasks. A case study

Methods Inf Med. 2008;47(3):203-7.


Objectives: We present a prototype adaptive reminder system for home-based medical tasks. The system consists of a mobile device for reminder presentation and ambient sensors to determine opportune moments for reminder delivery. Our objective was to study interaction with the prototype under naturalistic living conditions and gain insight into factors affecting the long-term acceptability of context-sensitive reminder systems for the home setting.

Methods: A volunteer participant used the prototype in a residential research facility while adhering to a regimen of simulated medical tasks for ten days. Some reminders were scheduled at fixed times during the day and some were automatically time-shifted based on sensor data. We made a complete video and sensor record of the stay. Finally, the participant commented about his experiences with the system in a debriefing interview.

Results: Based on this case study, including direct observation of individual alert-action sequences, we make four recommendations for designers of context-sensitive adaptive reminder systems. Captured metrics suggest that adaptive reminders led to faster reaction times and were perceived by the participant as being more useful.

Conclusions: The evaluation of context-sensitive systems that overlap into domestic lives is challenging. We believe that the ideal experiment is to deploy such systems in real homes and assess performance longitudinally. This case study in an instrumented live-in facility is a step toward that long-term goal.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Computers, Handheld*
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pilot Projects
  • Reaction Time
  • Reminder Systems / instrumentation*
  • Self-Help Devices*