Healthy living with persuasive technologies: framework, issues, and challenges

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2009 Mar-Apr;16(2):171-8. doi: 10.1197/jamia.M2859. Epub 2008 Dec 11.


While our Y2K worries about old computers "retiring" at midnight captured the television and news media attention, a more significant "old age" phenomenon snuck onto the scene with hardly a headline: the dawn of the age of the aged. (1) The over burdened health care system will face a worldwide wave of retirees who will live longer, cost more to treat, and demand new goods and services to help them stay healthy, active, and independent. Research in persuasive technologies and the associated usage of a computing system, device, or application intentionally designed to change a person's attitude or behavior in a predetermined way is showing the potential to assist in improving healthy living, reduce the costs on the health care system, and allow the aged to maintain a more independent life. This article gives a deeper insight into the evolution of persuasive technologies and presents a framework that can guide a researcher or practitioner in comprehending more effectively the work being done in this novel research field. It also provides categories of domains within health care in which these technologies are used and surveys exemplars from published literature. The article's goal is to provide greater understanding by addressing the challenges that lie ahead for all key stakeholders that design and/or use persuasive technologies in health care.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Computer Systems / trends
  • Computing Methodologies*
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends
  • Forecasting
  • Geriatrics / trends
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / trends*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics / trends*