Date of Award

August 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science

First Advisor

Susan McRoy

Committee Members

Ethan Munson, Timothy Patrick, Hong Tao, Sayed Hosseini


Caregivers, Fogg’s Functional Role Triad, mHealth Technology, Multiple Chronic Conditions, Persuasive System Design Framework (psd)., Self-Determination Theory


With the increasing use of mobile technologies and smartphones, new methods of promoting personal health have been developed. For example, there is now software for recording and tracking one's exercise activity or blood pressure. Even though there are already many of these services, the mobile health field still presents many opportunities for new research.

One apparent area of need would be software to support the efforts of caregivers for the elderly, especially those who suffer from multiple chronic conditions, such as cognitive impairment, chronic heart failure or diabetes. Very few mobile applications (apps) have been created that target caregivers of the elderly and most seem to be limited to a single condition or to creating generic to-do lists or tracking medications. None seem to address the complex tracking of multiple chronic conditions, nor one of the key difficulties found with written checklists for this population, namely that caregivers quit recording health information regularly as time passes.

This dissertation will explore methods for improving the consistency of usage of health tracking software for the caregivers of the elderly with multiple chronic conditions by creating designs that explicitly address the context and motivations of caregivers.

This work will assess a number of existing approaches and provide a design and a prototype for a new motivating application to help the caregivers of patients with multiple chronic conditions. It will assess how well the tool seems to address factors associated with intrinsic motivation (e.g. autonomy, competence, relatedness, and feedback). The overall usability of the software application will also be addressed, following guidelines from ISO standards and Nielsen’s theories.