Evaluation of a virtual coaching system eHealth intervention: A mixed methods observational cohort study in the Netherlands

Marian Z.M. Hurmuz*, Stephanie M. Jansen-Kosterink, Tessa Beinema, Katrien Fischer, Harm op den Akker, Hermie J. Hermens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: With the rise in human life expectancy, the prevalence of chronic disease has increased significantly. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can decrease the risk of chronic disease. Virtual coaching systems can help older adults adopt a healthy lifestyle. Aim The primary objective of this study was to assess the use, user experience and potential health effects of a conversational agent-based eHealth platform (Council of Coaches) implemented in a real-world setting among older adults. Methods: An observational cohort study was conducted with older adults aged 55 years or older in the Netherlands. Participants were enrolled for 5–9 weeks during which they had access to Council of Coaches. They completed three questionnaires: pre-test, post-test, and at follow-up. After five weeks, an interview was conducted, and participants chose whether they wanted to use the eHealth intervention for another four weeks during the facultative phase. Results: The study population consisted of 51 older adults (70.6% female) with a mean age of 65.3 years (SD = 7.4). Of these, 94.1% started interacting with Council of Coaches, and most participants interacted once per week. During the facultative phase, 21 participants were still interacting with Council of Coaches. Minimal clinical important differences in quality of life were found among the study population after interacting with Council of Coaches. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that eHealth interventions with virtual coaching can be used among older adults. This may increase quality of life for older adults, and decrease their healthcare needs. Future research into such eHealth interventions should take into account the inclusion of sufficient personalised content and the use of a mixed methods study for assessing the eHealth intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100501
Number of pages8
JournalInternet interventions
Early online date5 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • e-Health
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Older adults
  • User experience
  • Virtual coaching
  • UT-Gold-D

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