Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Health & Work Living Labs

About this Research Area

At SMIT, we study the integration of digital innovations in the daily practice of healthcare and work. By doing so we provide insights in how technology is used in healthcare and work practice today and a careful assessment of the potential value of new applications, services and business models for the future of health and work and its stakeholders. In our research, we focus on the following three areas: (1) Persuasive technology & self-management, (2) Human-robot interaction & (in)dependency, and (3) people-centered algorithms & decision support.

Healthcare and wellbeing under pressure

An aging population, an increase of stress related disorders,… These are just a few of the challenges that the healthcare sector is facing today. At the same time it has to deal with a limited number of resources. To address this, a host of digital tools have been made available to health professionals, caregivers and individuals in need of care. For instance, people can use mobile apps that help to change ‘bad’ health habits. Robots can assist surgeons while operating. Context aware systems can monitor patient’s health and call for the right person to assist.

Meaningful, inclusive and sustainable solutions

While some health tools have proven to be successful, others have failed to be adopted or have been abandoned after initial use due to technical, practical, social or economic barriers. At SMIT, we study the integration of digital innovations in the daily practice of healthcare, but also more generally in everyday work practice. We start by investigating current practice to establish the state of the art. We then use future-oriented methodologies (e.g. co-creation, lab experiments and health pilots) to inspire and inform the design and development of future applications that are meaningful, inclusive and sustainable. By doing so we provide insights in how technology is used today and a careful assessment of the potential value of new applications, services and business models for the future of healthcare and work, and its stakeholders.

Research areas:

  1. Prevention, self-management, personal informatics, persuasive technology
  2. Human robot interaction & (in)dependency / quality of life (work)
  3. Decision support & creation of trustworthy people centred algorithms

Key Results

Policy Brief
1 Oct 2020
Policy Brief #40: Responsible innovation: the benefit of participatory research design in digital health technology
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Policy Brief
10 Mar 2020
Policy Brief #32: Does it hurt? The sensitivity of health data
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Key Publications

  • Configuring Living Labs
    Pierson, J., & Lievens, B. (2005). Configuring Living Labs For A “Thick” Understanding Of Innovation. In Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings (Vol. 2005, pp. 114–127). Redmond, WA, USA.
    Open publication

  • Cross border living labs network to support SMEs accessing new markets
    Lievens, B., Schaffers, H., Turkama, P., & Ståhlbröst, A. (2011). Cross border living labs network to support SMEs accessing new markets. In P. Cunningham & M. Cunningham (Eds.), eChallenges e-2011 Conference Proceedings. Florence, Italy: IIIMC International Information Management Corporation Ltd.
    Open publication

  • Linking living lab characteristics and their outcomes
    Veeckman, C., Schuurman, D., Leminen, S., & Westerlund, M. (2013). Linking Living Lab Characteristics and Their Outcomes: Towards a Conceptual Framework. Technology Innovation Management Review, (December 2013: Living Labs and Crowdsourcing), 6–15.
    Open publication

  • The city as living laboratory
    Veeckman, C., & van der Graaf, S. (2015). The City as Living Laboratory: Empowering Citizens with the Citadel Toolkit. Technology Innovation Management Review, 5(3), 6–17.
    Open publication

  • A methodology for shifting the focus of e-health support design onto user needs
    De Rouck, S., Jacobs, A., & Leys, M. (2008). A methodology for shifting the focus of e-health support design onto user needs. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 77(9), 589–601.
    Open publication

  • User-driven design of a context-aware application: An ambient-intelligent nurse call system
    Ongenae, F., Duysburgh, P., Verstraete, M., Sulmon, N., Bleumers, L., Jacobs, A., … Turck, F. D. (2012). User-driven design of a context-aware application: An ambient-intelligent nurse call system. In 2012 6th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (PervasiveHealth) and Workshops (pp. 205–210).
    Open publication