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Virtual Coaches for Older Adults’ Wellbeing: A Systematic Review


Abstract

Virtual Coaches, also known as e-coaches, are a disruptive technology in healthcare. Indeed, among other usages, they might provide cost-effective solutions for increasing human wellbeing in different domains, such as physical, nutritional, cognitive, social, and emotional. This paper presents a systematic review of virtual coaches specifically aimed at improving or maintaining older adults' health in the aforementioned domains. Such digital systems assume various forms, from classic apps, to more advanced conversational agents or robots. Fifty-six articles describing a virtual coach for older adults and aimed at improving their wellbeing were identified and further analyzed. In particular, we presented how previous studies defined their virtual coaches, which behavioral change models and techniques they adopted and the overall system architecture, in terms of monitoring solutions, processing methods and modalities for intervention delivery. Our results show that few thorough evaluations of e-coaching systems have been conducted, especially regarding multi-domain coaching approaches. Through our analysis, we identified the wellbeing domains that should be addressed in future studies as well as the most promising behavior change models and techniques and coaching interfaces. Previous work illustrates that older adults often appreciate conversational agents and robots. However, the lack of a multidomain intervention approach in the current literature motivates us to seek to define future solutions.

Abstract

Virtual Coaches, also known as e-coaches, are a disruptive technology in healthcare. Indeed, among other usages, they might provide cost-effective solutions for increasing human wellbeing in different domains, such as physical, nutritional, cognitive, social, and emotional. This paper presents a systematic review of virtual coaches specifically aimed at improving or maintaining older adults' health in the aforementioned domains. Such digital systems assume various forms, from classic apps, to more advanced conversational agents or robots. Fifty-six articles describing a virtual coach for older adults and aimed at improving their wellbeing were identified and further analyzed. In particular, we presented how previous studies defined their virtual coaches, which behavioral change models and techniques they adopted and the overall system architecture, in terms of monitoring solutions, processing methods and modalities for intervention delivery. Our results show that few thorough evaluations of e-coaching systems have been conducted, especially regarding multi-domain coaching approaches. Through our analysis, we identified the wellbeing domains that should be addressed in future studies as well as the most promising behavior change models and techniques and coaching interfaces. Previous work illustrates that older adults often appreciate conversational agents and robots. However, the lack of a multidomain intervention approach in the current literature motivates us to seek to define future solutions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > General Computer Science
Physical Sciences > General Materials Science
Physical Sciences > General Engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Engineering, General Materials Science, General Computer Science
Language:English
Date:1 January 2020
Deposited On:03 Sep 2020 13:57
Last Modified:04 Sep 2020 20:01
Publisher:Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ISSN:2169-3536
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1109/access.2020.2996404
Project Information:
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID769643
  • : Project TitleNESTORE - Novel Empowering Solutions and Technologies for Older people to Retain Everyday life activities

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