As the prevalence of chronic diseases increase, there is a need for consumer-centric health informatics applications that assist individuals with disease self-management skills. However, due to the cost of development of these applications, there is also a need to build a disease agnostic architecture so that they could be reused for any chronic disease. This paper describes the architecture of a collaborative virtual environment (VE) platform, LIVE©, that was developed to teach self-management skills and provide social support to those individuals with type 2 diabetes. However, a backend database allows for the application to be easily reused for any chronic disease. We tested its usability in the context of a larger randomized controlled trial of its efficacy. The usability was scored as 'good' by half of the participants in the evaluation. Common errors in the testing and solutions to address initial usability issues are discussed. Overall, LIVE© represents a usable and generalizable platform that will be adapted to other chronic diseases and health needs in future research and applications.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02040038.
Keywords: Chronic disease; Consumer health informatics; Self-management; Type 2 diabetes; Virtual environments.
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