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In response to skyrocketing healthcare costs and decreasing availability of providers, Khoury College’s Personal Health Informatics (PHI) research focuses on technologies that promote preventive medicine and patient empowerment. PHI researchers take a unique approach to human-computer interaction research, building systems that are evaluated through large-scale, real-world clinical trials. Their work is yielding technologies that cost-effectively improve access to health services, and increase health technology availability and usability. Khoury’s research has the potential to improve health indicators for individuals around the globe.

Areas of investigation:

  • mHealth (mobile/wearable health systems)
  • Health counseling dialogue systems
  • Assistive technologies applied to a range of health conditions and behaviors and populations, with special emphasis on urban and disadvantaged populations, older adults, and children with autism
  • Temporal event sequence visualization for adjusting type 1 diabetes treatment protocols

Northeastern’s pioneering work in Personal Health Informatics is built on interdisciplinary research that spans computer science, behavioral medicine, communication, and the health sciences, in collaboration with the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. The University’s close proximity to Boston’s Longwood Medical Area provides rich opportunities for in-the-field research and collaboration with world-class medical institutions. Students not only help design new health informatics systems, but also demonstrate their efficacy in the field through rigorous clinical trials.

Notable achievements:

  • In 2011, PHI researchers were awarded a National Cancer Institute grant to develop computer-animated conversational agents that guide cancer patients through oncology clinical trials.
  • Khoury received a National Science Foundation Expeditions Award to develop computational sensing and medical technologies that capture, measure, analyze, and understand human behavior.
  • Our PHI team established the Consortium for Technology on Proactive Care to advance the use of sensors to monitor health in the home and the discovery of new behavioral markers for health and quality of life improvements.
  • Researchers created an animated virtual nurse that educates hospital patients about health conditions and self-care after they leave the hospital. It works to improve health indicators through simulated face-to-face conversations that encourage patients to exercise and take medications as prescribed.

Academic Program Links

Research Area - Personal Health Informatics