An Agent-Based Wellness Indicator: Experimental Results and Future Directions

An Agent-Based Wellness Indicator: Experimental Results and Future Directions

Chitsutha Soomlek (Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand) and Luigi Benedicenti (University of Regina, Regina, Canada)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/jitr.2013040101
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Abstract

A personal wellness indicator is a software system that can give people a better understanding of their wellness conditions and can help them improve their wellness levels. The personal wellness indicator is a decision-support system for healthcare professionals. An agent-based wellness visualization system was developed as the proof concept. The agent-based system is constructed from the operational wellness model, the authors developed. The agent-based wellness visualization system is simple, expandable, modular, and its results are appropriate for two types of users with different requirements and backgrounds. This research also developed a framework for evaluating a wellness visualization system. The framework contains both technical evaluations and user studies. The proof of concept obtained positive feedbacks in various aspects. However, there are limitations found during the evaluations. This paper presents the analyzed results obtained from the proof of concept, recommended solutions to the limitations found, and future directions.
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Introduction

High state of wellbeing is essential to a person’s life, however, the person has to put in many efforts, have a certain level of specialized knowledge, be continuously motivated, and have long-term commitment to achieve the best possible state of wellness.

Consulting with a healthcare professional is one of the solutions that one could use to learn about their current state of wellbeing and therefore improve the quality of life. Unfortunately, there are currently an insufficient number of healthcare professionals compared to the number of people requiring services (Benedicenti & Soomlek, 2009; World Health Organization, 2008; Soomlek, An Agent-Based Wellness Visualization System, 2013).

Telehealth and telemedicine play an important role in relieving the problem of having an insufficient number of healthcare professionals and increase the accessibility of medical services by bringing health services and healthcare professionals to people at distance (Soomlek, An Agent-Based Wellness Visualization System, 2013). In addition, telehealth services are more cost effective than face-to-face services (Persaud, Jreige, Skedgel, Finley, Sargeant, & Hanlon, 2005). In Nova Scotia, a study indicates the telehealth costs around $CAD17 to 70 per patient, while a face-to-face consultation costs around $CAD240 to 1,048 per patient (Persaud, Jreige, Skedgel, Finley, Sargeant, & Hanlon, 2005). However, there is uncertainty in the effectiveness and risks of employing telehealth and telemedicine, whereas a study shows that remote monitoring does not result in fewer hospitalizations and emergency department visits. In addition, areas with remote monitoring have actually seen increases in death rate of elderly patients (Takahashi, et al., 2012; Kaffash, 2012).

Currently, portable health monitoring devices with matching applications and health-related applications running on smart phones and tablets can be easily purchased (Soomlek, An Agent-Based Wellness Visualization System, 2013). Also, the upgraded versions are frequently emerging. As a result, many people utilize such devices, mobile applications, or both to keep track of certain parameters and to achieve the desired wellness status. For diabetics, portable health monitoring devices are very useful tools in assisting them to monitor on their wellness conditions and promote their wellness level because the diabetics must continually monitor their blood sugar content and document their readings (Canadian Diabetes Association). Even though there are many supporting tools and solutions available on the market, a person still needs a certain level of specialized knowledge to interpret the monitoring results (Soomlek, An Agent-Based Wellness Visualization System, 2013). The monitoring and analyzing process become even more difficult when the data are recorded in different places and are in different formats.

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