DMCoach: A personalized coaching platform for prevention and management of Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus

The goal of this project is to educate patients with suggestions devoted to and aimed at improving their lifestyle, thus helping them to handle the illness in the easiest way possible.

The adoption of unhealthy lifestyles (e.g. obesity, sedentary behavior, incorrect diet) is leading to an ever increasing incidence of Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus for which the risk of complications is often underestimated.

The idea of offering an mHealth service to make citizens more knowledgeable of the risk factors for development of the disease and, at the same time, support diabetic patients, through focused and personalized recommendations, in preventing the disease’s complications (such as ocular effects, neuropathy, the “diabetes foot” and coronary disease).

For these purposes, users receive a stream of personalized advice, which is proactive and adapted to their sensibilities.  These recommendations can be supplied by healthcare professionals or automatically generated by the system. For these reasons, the project provides for a clinical validation of the solution which allows for an evaluation of its impact on patients.

Thus, this solution handles both prevention and management of diabetes through the following mechanisms:

  • personalized coaching: personalized feedback is supplied based on the analysis of trends and patterns identified for each patient; furthermore the medical staff is able to actively contribute to the coaching and encouragement in order to make patients accountable
  • monitoring lifestyle: collection and intelligent presentation of information related to physical activity, nutrition and anthropometric data
  • patient empowerment: increasing each patient’s knowledge of his own lifestyle and guiding him in the adoption of a more healthy way of living
  • patient engagement: the solution analyses the patient’s interactions with the application to cultivate his propensity for behavioral changes.

Furthermore, the solution has the ability to examine the user’s habits in order to evaluate both direct and indirect behavior (activity, food, environment...). Thus, different people are assisted with personalized coaching and suggestions according to their level of knowledge and their state of health. These personalizations employ psychological and motivational theories to establish the interaction and persuasion strategies most suitable for modifying patients’ lifestyle.

In this way, interventions are personalized not only to increase knowledge and motivate users to start changing their habits, but also to keep them motivated long term.

Engineering is the head of a European consortium which includes two research centers, the Bruno Kessler Foundation and IMEC, and it directs development activities for the entire solution.