User experience and potential health effects of a conversational agent-based electronic health intervention: Protocol for an observational cohort study

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: While the average human life expectancy has increased remarkably, the length of life with chronic conditions has also increased. To limit the occurrence of chronic conditions and comorbidities, it is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Within the European project “Council of Coaches,” a personalized coaching platform was developed that supports developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Objective: The primary aim of this study is to assess the user experience with and the use and potential health effects of a fully working Council of Coaches system implemented in a real-world setting among the target population, specifically older adults or adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus or chronic pain. Methods: An observational cohort study with a pretest-posttest design will be conducted. The study population will be a dynamic cohort consisting of older adults, aged ≥55 years, as well as adults aged ≥18 years with type 2 diabetes mellitus or chronic pain. Each participant will interact in a fully automated manner with Council of Coaches for 5 to 9 weeks. The primary outcomes are user experience, use of the program, and potential effects (health-related factors). Secondary outcomes include demographics, applicability of the virtual coaches, and user interaction with the virtual coaches. Results: Recruitment started in December 2019 and is conducted through mass mailing, snowball sampling, and advertisements in newspapers and social media. This study is expected to conclude in August 2020. Conclusions: The results of this study will either confirm or reject the hypothesis that a group of virtual embodied conversational coaches can keep users engaged over several weeks of interaction and contribute to positive health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16641
JournalJMIR research protocols
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Adults
  • Chronic pain
  • Effectiveness
  • Evaluation protocol
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Older adults
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • User experience
  • Virtual coaching

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