Toward a ubiquitous model to assist the treatment of people with depression

  • Milene Martini Petry
  • Jorge Luis Victória Barbosa
  • Sandro José Rigo
  • Lucas Pfeiffer Salomão DiasEmail author
  • Paulo César Büttenbender
Long Paper


The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, depression will be the second-most common cause of debility. Also, ubiquitous computing advances are offering people and applications the necessary information for the most diversified necessities. In this sense, researchers are using ubiquitous health in applications focused on mental health and well-being. This article proposes Hígia, a model to assist in the treatment of people suffering from depression. Hígia detects the need to contact the caregivers of a depressed person, based on the users’ historical context, allowing a faster response action. Hígia constantly evaluates patients’ characteristics on social networks, emails, and interactions with smartphones, computers, or other devices. Hígia also proposes the monitoring of users’ displacements. A prototype was developed and applied in an evaluation involving users and psychologists. The results showed 85.7% of acceptance regarding perceived ease of use by users and that 100% agree, partially or totally, about the system utility. These results were encouraging and show the potential for implementing Hígia in real-life situations.


Depression Tracking system Medical ontology Intelligent agents 



The authors wish to acknowledge that this work was supported by CNPq/Brazil (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development— and CAPES/Brazil (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel— We are also grateful to Unisinos ( for embracing this research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical statement

This research did not require ethical approval in accordance with the regulations of the University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS). The subjects who participated in the evaluation were not patients in treatment for depression, but rather academic volunteers and psychologists. They assessed the usability aspects of Hígia and not the effectiveness of its application in the treatment. In addition, the participants agreed to participate in the evaluation of Hígia.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milene Martini Petry
    • 1
  • Jorge Luis Victória Barbosa
    • 1
  • Sandro José Rigo
    • 1
  • Lucas Pfeiffer Salomão Dias
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paulo César Büttenbender
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied Computing Graduate Program (PPGCA) of University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS)São LeopoldoBrazil

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