Healthcare professionals gain control of children’s diabetes self-management

[This post is based on the Information Sciences MSc. thesis by Jet Shin Hong]

Designing a healthcare management tool for healthcare professionals’ assessment of T1DM knowledge, goals and development

Children aged 8 to 12 with diabetes type I are motivated to get involved in their diabetes management to reduce the impact of their illness on their short- and long-term health. Self-management of diabetes is an active and proactive process and it involves shifting and sharing responsibility for diabetes care tasks and decision-making in frequent collaboration with healthcare professionals. The research question this study sought to answer is: ‘How can a healthcare management tool support healthcare professionals in guiding children with diabetes self-management involving a social actor (robot/avatar)?’ To answer this question, a prototype of a healthcare management tool was developed and evaluated with end users (diabetes nurses) and an important stakeholder (diabetes doctor), following the situated Cognitive Engineering approach. Overall, this prototype of a redesigned PAL Control was perceived positively by the healthcare professionals and the findings suggested that a combination of an assessment with a robot or its avatar, setting goals, selecting actions and the progression page, is a suitable and effective approach to healthcare professionals in guiding children with diabetes self-management. Healthcare professionals mentioned that this system has provided them support in making the consult with children and parents more meaningful due to the fact that they can understand their needs better on forehand. However, evaluations for a longer period of time are needed in order to validate if the needs are completely fulfilled. Nonetheless, useful suggestions were found during the evaluation of the prototype and provided important pointers for further development.

View the presentation slides and prototype at


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