Thesis title: Human factors and the design of digital health technology

Research area: My thesis focuses on human factors relevant for the use of embedded, wearable, and mobile sensors in clinical research, with an emphasis on patients using these in free-living conditions. Such technology can provide important ways to effectively monitor patients and personalize treatments, which is relevant for many stakeholders in the care system ranging from patients and patient associations to personnel in clinical research and practice. Two overarching research themes related to the adoption of digital health define the scope of my studies.

Theme one: Technology acceptance deals with ease-of-use and perceived usefulness and is fundamental to adoption of digital health. Within this theme, I develop, adapt, and assess frameworks associated with technology acceptance, covering HCI and human factors research in general as well as the digital health domain in particular. I also develop and validate design principles and proof-of-concept designs that promote acceptance and negotiate differences in technological literacy among patients and clinical personnel.

Theme two: Engagement studies focus on interaction with technology over time and patient empowerment. Participant attrition is recognized as challenging for clinical studies and practice, posing threats to the validity of results and relevance of interventions using digital health technologies. Within this theme, I therefore design and assess mechanisms that promote lasting engagement and value-creation over time. This includes aspects such as perceived privacy, transparency and trust, support for behavior change and adherence, as well as gamification and other forms of incentives.

Research approach: My PhD studies rely on design research methods widely adopted in HCI and human factors research. Given my background in interaction design, I employ a broad range of state-of-the-art techniques from human-centered design and design thinking associated with co-design and stakeholder involvement.

Research setting: This thesis is associated with several established clinical collaborations that benefit from including human factor considerations as a complement to their existing agendas. Within my fully funded PhD position, I am in a very good position to engage with additional collaborations.