The NUCoach platform is very flexible and customizable. Developers can create new modules and integrations through our selection of application program interfaces, or APIs, that allow access to data collected in NUCoach and stored in our database on DeepHealth Lab.
Wait, what is DeepHealth Lab?
DeepHealth Lab is the engine that runs NUCoach. This site connects to an SSL-secured database hosted by DigitalOcean Cloud services. Using this platform, researchers can access raw participant data that is secured using a robust access level management system. DeepHealth Lab’s API allows for easy integration with outside sensors and services.
Twilio is a cloud communications platform company that allows software developers to programmatically make and receive phone calls and send and receive text messages using its web service APIs. We use Twilio to prompt individuals to complete various coaching tasks at that time. Twilio allows us to insert a link that directly opens our NUCoach mobile app (this function in iOS only).
Wearable sensors, such as Microsoft Band 2, Empatica E4, Misfit devices, Emfit QS, and Firstbeat Bodyguard 2 (ECG). Using mobile companion applications (for MS Band 2 and Misfit) or simple drag-and-drop upload tools (for E4 and Firstbeat), DeepHealth Lab will automatically convert sensor data into standard MySQL format before storing in our database. These will be described in more detail in a later post.
The NUCoach mobile app serves multiple functions. It is the primary interface for client users and facilitates activities like:
- Delivery of surveys and ecological momentary assessments
- Delivery of project-related content (e.g. short articles on developing healthy habits)
- Collecting data from personal devices like Misfit, Fitbit, and Emfit
- Real-time communication with coaches
- Access to technical assistance
The main use for coaches in the real-time chat with clients and other coaches. These “chats” pop up on your phone just like a text message or notification, making communication among project teammates simple and seamless.
Our app is available on both the Apple App and Android Play stores. Just look for the heart icon!
Here are some of the key features available on NUCoach:
- Action Plans are collections of activities assigned to a Client by a Coach. Types of activities include:
- Scheduled surveys
- Triggered surveys (in beta)
- To-do lists
- Photo taking/upload
- Activity monitoring allows Coaches to see which activities their Clients have completed and which ones they have missed
- Scheduled reminders deliver semi-tailored messages of encouragement and reinforcement to Clients on behalf of their Coaches
- Integrating streaming sensors and real-time data analysis (in beta) allow Coaches to amass large amounts of information on their Clients that will help Coaches better customize their approach to each Client. This may also help Coaches get in touch with Clients if problems are detected.
- Conditional messaging that allows relevant feedback to be personalized and automated based on data collected from integrated wearable sensors.
- Duplicating Action Plans and Reminder schedules (in beta) allow Coaches to easily copy existing complex Action Plans for other Clients as well as shift the start date and time to account for rolling enrollment
- Chat and activity logging among Coaches allows for real time coaching collaboration
- Real time chat between Coaches and Clients gives Client better access to their Coaches at the most convenient time for the Client
- Unidirectional custom text messages to Clients (initiated by Coaches) and a log of these messages gives Coaches a simple, web-based method of sending text messages to their Clients whenever needed and without looking up phone numbers or email addresses
We are building new features every day, including ways to monitor and download Client data.
There are several types of user roles available in NUCoach.
- Clients are study participants. They can view their own Action Plans (created by their Coach), complete activities, and contact their Coach through the NUCoach mobile app. Clients can only have one active project at a time.
- Coaches can manage activities for and communicate with Client users. Multiple users can be Coaches on a single project, and a single user can be a Coach on multiple projects at the same time. Coaches cannot add users to projects–they must request this from the Manager.
- Managers control user and project access. Managers can add users and modules to projects. They can also send communicate with users.
- Developers have access to the module builder, which is how NUCoach grows! Modules that are verified can be added to research projects.
One user can have multiple roles. For instance, one user can be a Client and a Coach on a single project, a Coach on several additional projects, and a Developer.
To create a NUCoach user:
- Go to https://nucoach.org/console/#!/login and click Sign Up
- Required fields: name, username, password, email, and cellphone number (date of birth and gender are optional). You must accept the Terms of Service by clicking the check box.
- Click Preview. If everything is correct, click Looks Good, Sign Me Up.
- Congratulations, you have signed up for NUCoach!
Although you have created an account, you will not have access to any content or features until you are given a role on a project.
Welcome to the NUCoach documentation blog. NUCoach is a modular health coaching and research platform built by the Health Behavior Informatics Lab at Northeastern University. Supported by DeepHealth Lab technologies, NUCoach is a powerful yet flexible tool that allows health behavior researchers to gather immense amounts of participant data in real world contexts in near real time. Through sensor integrations and experience sampling, we can not only learn more about our participants’ behaviors but be better prepared to intervene in the right context at the right time.
NUCoach is exclusively available for use by members of the Consortium on Technology for Proactive Care.
We have begun developing our documentation and training curriculum, all of which can be found in this blog. Below you will find links to specific entries. We are still working on this–your patience is greatly appreciated!
NUCoach best practices
- App requirements and specifications
- Special considerations when screening participants
- Training participants effectively