Assisted Coaching for Older People: Initial Considerations
In this paper, we introduce the concept of “assisted coaching” which consists in providing the patients (and the physicians acting as a coach) with some form of technology that support the required behavior change and in general the compliance with the program without replacing the physician in his/her role of a coach. In particular, we deployed two smartphone apps: (i) one to allow a questionnaire to be administered daily to the participants in order to provide more reliable data about the compliance of a patient to the program and (ii) one that implements a chat that allow patients to ask questions to the coach. The approach was initially evaluated in the contest of a weight reduction program in a clinical setting. The study was conducted as a pilot study and involved 10 older participants (over 62 years) and 4 younger participants as a comparison group. The result suggests that the general approach is interesting and appreciated by the patients, in particular the questionnaire app. Yet, the two specific apps need to be at least partially redesigned to better fit their needs and expectations.
This work was supported by the Italian Ministry for University and Research through the project “Active Ageing@home” within the National Technological Cluster [CTN01_00128_297061, TAV—Tecnologie per gli Ambienti di Vita] venture in the PON-2013-FESR framework. We would like to thank Marco Giordano Muratore and Federico Pessot for the help with the interviews in Trento and Valentina Tombolesi for the interviews in Ancona.
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