Examining daily activity routines of older adults using workflow

J Biomed Inform. 2017 Jul:71:82-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2017.05.010. Epub 2017 May 18.


We evaluated the value of workflow analysis supported by a novel visualization technique to better understand the daily routines of older adults and highlight their patterns of daily activities and normal variability in physical functions. We used a self-reported activity diary to obtain data from six community-dwelling older adults for 14 consecutive days. Workflow for daily routine was analyzed using the EventFlow tool, which aggregates workflow information to highlight patterns and variabilities. A total of 1453 events were included in the data analysis. To demonstrate the patterns and variability of each individual's daily activities, participant activity workflows were visualized and compared. The workflow analysis revealed great variability in activity types, regularity, frequency, duration, and timing of performing certain activities across individuals. Also, when workflow approach was applied to spatial information of activities, the analysis revealed the ability to provide meaningful data on individuals' mobility in different levels of life spaces from home to community. Results suggest that using workflows to characterize the daily activities of older adults will be helpful for clinicians and researchers in understanding their daily routines and preparing education and prevention strategies tailored to each individual's activity level. This tool also has the potential to be integrated into consumer informatics technologies, such as patient portals or personal health records, so that consumers may be encouraged to become actively involved in monitoring and managing their health.

Keywords: Daily activities; Home; Older adults; Visualization; Workflow.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Health Records, Personal*
  • Humans
  • Workflow*