Behavioral informatics and computational modeling in support of proactive health management and care

Misha Pavel, Holly Brugge Rugge Jimison, Ilkka Korhonen, Christine M. Gordon, Niilo Saranummi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Health-related behaviors are among the most significant determinants of health and quality of life. Improving health behavior is an effective way to enhance health outcomes and mitigate the escalating challenges arising from an increasingly aging population and the proliferation of chronic diseases. Although it has been difficult to obtain lasting improvements in health behaviors on a wide scale, advances at the intersection of technology and behavioral science may provide the tools to address this challenge. In this paper, we describe a vision and an approach to improve health behavior interventions using the tools of behavioral informatics, an emerging transdisciplinary research domain based on system-theoretic principles in combination with behavioral science and information technology. The field of behavioral informatics has the potential to optimize interventions through monitoring, assessing, and modeling behavior in support of providing tailored and timely interventions. We describe the components of a closed-loop system for health interventions. These components range from fine grain sensor characterizations to individual-based models of behavior change. We provide an example of a research health coaching platform that incorporates a closed-loop intervention based on these multiscale models. Using this early prototype, we illustrate how the optimized and personalized methodology and technology can support self-management and remote care. We note that despite the existing examples of research projects and our platform, significant future research is required to convert this vision to full-scale implementations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2763-2775
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • behavioral informatics
  • computational models
  • health behavior change
  • multiscale
  • self-management
  • wearable sensors


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