An Ontology to Support Knowledge Management in Behaviour-Based Healthcare

  • John Kingston
  • Nathaniel Charlton
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10630)


A Do Something Different (DSD) behaviour change programme consists of a series of digitally delivered behavioural prompts, or “Dos”, for targeted behaviour change designed to aid people to achieve personal goals or to break bad habits. “Dos” may address for example behaviour connected with exercise, smoking, diet, sleep or diabetes self-management, or personal development objectives such as leadership. DSD’s current database contains thousands of such “Dos”, developed by behaviour change experts.

We have developed an ontology to organise the large database of behavioural prompts in order to help DSD with its knowledge management. We began by developing an ontology of function, bottom-up; then we expanded this into a multi-perspective ontology covering WHO, WHAT, HOW, WHEN, WHERE and WHY perspectives.

The expected benefits from our ontology are: 1. response data from users can be aggregated by ontology category to get insights into users’ behaviour, 2. the ontology enables the implementation of smarter algorithms for selecting which “Dos” to suggest to which users, and 3. the ontology assists in the process of generating new “Dos”, either by domain experts or by crowd-sourcing.

Finally we follow an ontology-theoretic approach to argue that our ontology should be re-usable across other behaviour change applications, but maybe not across other application types.


Ontology Knowledge management Healthcare Health Behaviour change Case based reasoning 



The authors were supported by Innovate UK via Knowledge Transfer Partnership 10152. Thanks are due to Professor Ben (C) Fletcher for comments on this paper.


  1. 1.
    Pine, K., Fletcher, B.: Shifting brain channels to change health behaviour. Perspect. Public Health. 134(1), 16–17 (2014). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Fletcher, B., Hanson, J., Pine, K., Page, N.: FIT – Do something different: A new psychological intervention tool for facilitating weight loss. Swiss J. Psychol. 70(1), 25–34 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pine, K., Fletcher, B.: Changing people’s habits is associated with reductions in stress, anxiety and depression levels. Technical report, Do Something Different Ltd. (2016)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Charlton, N., Kingston, J., Petridis, M., Fletcher, B.: Using data mining to refine digital behaviour change interventions. In: Proceedings of 7th International Conference on Digital Health 2017, London, United Kingdom, pp. 90–98. ACM (2017)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fletcher, B., Pine, K.: Flex: Do Something Different. University of Hertfordshire Press, Hertfordshire (1999)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chapman, G.: The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Northfield, Chicago (1995)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kingston, J.: Multi-Perspective Modelling for Knowledge Management and Knowledge Engineering: Practical Applications of Artificial Intelligence. CreateSpace (2017). ISBN 978-1539048343Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Brandt, S., Morbach, J., Miatidis, M., Marquardt, W.: An ontology-based approach to knowledge management in design processes. Comput. Chem. Eng. 32(1), 320–342 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Abecker, A., van Elst, L.: Ontologies for knowledge management. In: Staab, S., Studer, R. (eds.) Handbook on Ontologies. International Handbooks on Information Systems, pp. 435–454. Springer, Heidelberg (2004). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Wielinga, R.: Personal communication to the first author of this paper. University of Amsterdam (1997)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kingston, J.: Merging top level ontologies for scientific knowledge management. In: Proceedings of the AAAI Workshop on Ontologies and the Semantic Web, pp. 147–154 (2002)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kingston, J.: Multi-perspective ontologies: Resolving common ontology development problems. Expert Syst. Appl. 34(1), 541–550 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kingston, J.: Ontology, knowledge management, knowledge engineering and the ACM classification scheme. In: Bramer, M., Preece, A., Coenen, F. (eds.) Research and Development in Intelligent Systems, pp. 207–220. Springer, London (2003). Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Guarino, N.: Some ontological principles for designing upper level lexical resources. In: Rubio, G., Castro, T. (eds.) Proceedings of First International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, Granada, Spain, pp. 527–534 (1998)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BrightonBrightonUK

Personalised recommendations