Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation
Principal Investigator: Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Maaß
Project Runtime: March 2012 - February 2015 (36 months)
Project Budget: 360.000,- CHF

PathMate: Effects of Ubiquitous Healthcare Information Systems on Performance of Obesity Expert and Teenager Teams

What is PathMate?

According to the World Health Organization the prevalence of overweight and obesity in childhood has increased dramatically over the last decade. In particular, forecasts of the Federal Office of the Public Health assume that almost 20 per cent of all Swiss children will be affected in 2022. This epidemic dissemination has not only psychological and physiological drawbacks for those being affected but it has also serious implications for the public and private healthcare sector by increasing costs due to overweight-related comorbidities and a lack of health supply. In order to address these serious issues, multi-professional programs with physical activity, nutritional and behavioral interventions have been introduced. But only 300 to 500 out of 47 000 obese and 247 000 overweight children can participate in those programs in Switzerland each year due to limited personal and financial resources. In contrast to the group-based intervention programs, individual programs are also required in non-metropolitan regions but they are not affordable, either.

The PathMate project has therefore the objective to build and evaluate an Ubiquitous Healthcare Information System (UHIS) that has direct effects on the performance of obesity expert and teenager teams and indirect effects on the outcomes of obesity programs in Switzerland.

It will be investigated how to design UHIS collaboratively with obesity experts and obese teenagers by applying design science research. A structured methodology is used during the building phase that has been developed in previous research (Janzen et al. 2010). During the evaluation phase, special emphasis is given to the investigation of direct effects of UHIS on the communication, collaboration and mutual understanding between obesity experts and teenagers. The effects on group performance are measured by group cohesion and group commitment. Furthermore, indirect effects on general obesity program outcomes will be investigated.


Direct and indirect effects of the UHIS are evaluated by pretests and two in-depth longitudinal case studies with teenagers as part of the individual obesity therapy at Ostschweizer Kinderspital in St. Gallen and an obesity prevention program led by the University of Lausanne. Finally, recommendations are discussed for improved obesity programs and a special emphasis will be given on the broader impact of team performance enhanced by UHIS on therapy outcomes of other diseases.

The project consortium consists of the following partners:

logo-university-st.gallen.png logo-eth-zurich.png
logo-oks.png logo-university-of-lausanne.png


Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Maass

Related publications

Kowatsch, T., Maass, W., Pletikosa Cvijikj, I., Büchter, D., Brogle, B., Dintheer, A., Wiegand, D., Durrer, D., Schutz, Y. & l’Allemand, D.

Design of a Health Information System Enhancing the Performance of Obesity Expert and Children Teams, European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2014, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2014.
JQR-Rating: B JQR-Index: 7,37

Pletikosa Cvijikj, I., Kowatsch, T., Büchter, D., Brogle, B., Dintheer, A., Wiegand, D., Durrer, D., Xu, R., l’Allemand, D., Schutz, Y. & Maass, W.

Health Information System for Obesity Prevention and Treatment of Children and Adolescents, European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2014, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2014.
JQR-Rating: B JQR-Index: 7,37

Büchter, D., Kowatsch, T., Pletikosa, I., Schütz, Y., L`Allemand, D., Maass, W. & Laimbacher, J.

A longitudinal study assessing an IT-supported neurological feedback in obesity intervention for children and adolescent emotional self control, fPmh2014 - 3rd annual congress foederatio Paedo medicorum helveticorum - Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Pädiatrie, 2014.

Kowatsch, T. & Maass, W.

Towards Empirically Validated Ubiquitous Information Systems: Results From A Pretest And Three Empirical Studies, 21st European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2013), Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2013.
JQR-Rating: B JQR-Index: 7,37
PDF (3.33 MB) - BibTeX

Maass, W., Kowatsch, T., Janzen, S., Filler, A.

Applying Situation-Service Fit to Physical Environments Enhanced by Ubiquitous Information Systems, 20th European Conf. on Information Systems (ECIS 2012), Barcelona, Spain, 2012.
JQR-Rating: B JQR-Index: 7.37
PDF (1.15 MB) - BibTeX

Maass, W. & Janzen, S.

Pattern-Based Approach for Designing with Diagrammatic and Propositional Conceptual Models, 6th Int. Conf. on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology (DESRIST 2011), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 2011.
PDF (360 KB) - BibTeX

Janzen, S., Filler, A., Maass, W.

Designing Ubiquitous Information Systems based on Conceptual Models, Workshop "Sozio-technisches Systemdesign im Zeitalter des Ubiquitous Computing (SUBICO 2011)" at Informatik 2011, Berlin, 2011.
PDF (3.48 MB) - BibTeX

Maass, W., Storey, V. C., Kowatsch, T.

Effects of External Conceptual Models and Verbal Explanations On Shared Understanding in Small Groups, Conceptual Modeling, ER 2011, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer, 2011, 6998, pp. 92-103.
JQR-Rating: C JQR-Index: 6.78
PDF (219 KB) - BibTeX

Janzen, S., Kowatsch, T. & Maass, W.

Springer (ed.)
A Methodology for Content-Centered Design of Ambient Environments, DESRIST 2010: Global Perspectives on Design Science Research, St. Gallen, Switzerland, 2010, pp. 210-225.
PDF (4.49 MB) - BibTeX