P. Kaushik, S. S. intille, and K. Larsen, "User-adaptive reminders for home-based medical tasks. A case study," Methods of Information in Medicine, vol. 47, pp. 203-7, 2008. [PDF]


OBJECTIVES: We present a prototype adaptive reminder system for home-based medical tasks. The system consists of a mobile device for reminder presentation and ambient sensors to determine opportune moments for reminder delivery. Our objective was to study interaction with the prototype under naturalistic living conditions and gain insight into factors affecting the long-term acceptability of context-sensitive reminder systems for the home setting. METHODS: A volunteer participant used the prototype in a residential research facility while adhering to a regimen of simulated medical tasks for ten days. Some reminders were scheduled at fixed times during the day and some were automatically time-shifted based on sensor data. We made a complete video and sensor record of the stay. Finally, the participant commented about his experiences with the system in a debriefing interview. RESULTS: Based on this case study, including direct observation of individual alert-action sequences, we make four recommendations for designers of context-sensitive adaptive reminder systems. Captured metrics suggest that adaptive reminders led to faster reaction times and were perceived by the participant as being more useful. CONCLUSIONS: The evaluation of context-sensitive systems that overlap into domestic lives is challenging. We believe that the ideal experiment is to deploy such systems in real homes and assess performance longitudinally. This case study in an instrumented live-in facility is a step toward that long-term goal.


Adaptive assistance, smart homes, mobile computing, medication adherence, in-home acceptability evaluation.


This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant #0313065 and the MIT House_n Consortium. The PlaceLab live-in laboratory is a joing MIT House_n and TIAX, LLC initiative. We thank Jennifer Beaudin for her help administering the study. We thank our participant for sharing nearly two weeks of his life with us.