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Elena+ Care for COVID-19, a Pandemic Lifestyle Care Intervention: Intervention Design and Study Protocol


Ollier, Joseph; Neff, Simon; Dworschak, Christine; et al; von Wyl, Viktor; Weidt, Steffi; Haug, Severin; Schaub, Michael; Kleim, Birgit; Barth, Jürgen; Witt, Claudia; Scholz, Urte; Hauser-Ulrich, Sandra (2021). Elena+ Care for COVID-19, a Pandemic Lifestyle Care Intervention: Intervention Design and Study Protocol. Frontiers in Public Health, 9:625640.

Abstract

Background: The current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is an emergency on a global scale, with huge swathes of the population required to remain indoors for prolonged periods to tackle the virus. In this new context, individuals' health-promoting routines are under greater strain, contributing to poorer mental and physical health. Additionally, individuals are required to keep up to date with latest health guidelines about the virus, which may be confusing in an age of social-media disinformation and shifting guidelines. To tackle these factors, we developed Elena+, a smartphone-based and conversational agent (CA) delivered pandemic lifestyle care intervention. Methods: Elena+ utilizes varied intervention components to deliver a psychoeducation-focused coaching program on the topics of: COVID-19 information, physical activity, mental health (anxiety, loneliness, mental resources), sleep and diet and nutrition. Over 43 subtopics, a CA guides individuals through content and tracks progress over time, such as changes in health outcome assessments per topic, alongside user-set behavioral intentions and user-reported actual behaviors. Ratings of the usage experience, social demographics and the user profile are also captured. Elena+ is available for public download on iOS and Android devices in English, European Spanish and Latin American Spanish with future languages and launch countries planned, and no limits on planned recruitment. Panel data methods will be used to track user progress over time in subsequent analyses. The Elena+ intervention is open-source under the Apache 2 license (MobileCoach software) and the Creative Commons 4.0 license CC BY-NC-SA (intervention logic and content), allowing future collaborations; such as cultural adaptions, integration of new sensor-related features or the development of new topics. Discussion: Digital health applications offer a low-cost and scalable route to meet challenges to public health. As Elena+ was developed by an international and interdisciplinary team in a short time frame to meet the COVID-19 pandemic, empirical data are required to discern how effective such solutions can be in meeting real world, emergent health crises. Additionally, clustering Elena+ users based on characteristics and usage behaviors could help public health practitioners understand how population-level digital health interventions can reach at-risk and sub-populations.

Keywords: chatbot; conversational agent (CA); coronavirus–COVID-19; digital coaching; digital health; gamification; mental health; pandemic lifestyle care.

Abstract

Background: The current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is an emergency on a global scale, with huge swathes of the population required to remain indoors for prolonged periods to tackle the virus. In this new context, individuals' health-promoting routines are under greater strain, contributing to poorer mental and physical health. Additionally, individuals are required to keep up to date with latest health guidelines about the virus, which may be confusing in an age of social-media disinformation and shifting guidelines. To tackle these factors, we developed Elena+, a smartphone-based and conversational agent (CA) delivered pandemic lifestyle care intervention. Methods: Elena+ utilizes varied intervention components to deliver a psychoeducation-focused coaching program on the topics of: COVID-19 information, physical activity, mental health (anxiety, loneliness, mental resources), sleep and diet and nutrition. Over 43 subtopics, a CA guides individuals through content and tracks progress over time, such as changes in health outcome assessments per topic, alongside user-set behavioral intentions and user-reported actual behaviors. Ratings of the usage experience, social demographics and the user profile are also captured. Elena+ is available for public download on iOS and Android devices in English, European Spanish and Latin American Spanish with future languages and launch countries planned, and no limits on planned recruitment. Panel data methods will be used to track user progress over time in subsequent analyses. The Elena+ intervention is open-source under the Apache 2 license (MobileCoach software) and the Creative Commons 4.0 license CC BY-NC-SA (intervention logic and content), allowing future collaborations; such as cultural adaptions, integration of new sensor-related features or the development of new topics. Discussion: Digital health applications offer a low-cost and scalable route to meet challenges to public health. As Elena+ was developed by an international and interdisciplinary team in a short time frame to meet the COVID-19 pandemic, empirical data are required to discern how effective such solutions can be in meeting real world, emergent health crises. Additionally, clustering Elena+ users based on characteristics and usage behaviors could help public health practitioners understand how population-level digital health interventions can reach at-risk and sub-populations.

Keywords: chatbot; conversational agent (CA); coronavirus–COVID-19; digital coaching; digital health; gamification; mental health; pandemic lifestyle care.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Complementary Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Implementation Science in Health Care
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Uncontrolled Keywords:chatbot, conversational agent (CA), digital coaching, digital health, coronavirus – COVID-19, gamification, mental health, pandemic lifestyle care, COVID / COVID-19
Language:English
Date:21 October 2021
Deposited On:26 Oct 2021 10:40
Last Modified:28 Apr 2022 07:08
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:2296-2565
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.625640
Related URLs:https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/214778/
PubMed ID:34746067

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