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Implement Sci. 2017 Oct 18;12(1):121. doi: 10.1186/s13012-017-0641-5.

The Human Behaviour-Change Project: harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning for evidence synthesis and interpretation.

Author information

1
UCL Centre for Behaviour Change, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 7HB, UK. s.michie@ucl.ac.uk.
2
EPPI-Centre, Department of Social Science, University College London, London, UK.
3
Health Psychology, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
4
IBM Research - Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.
5
Department of Computer Science, UCL, London, UK.
6
Primary Care Unit, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
7
UCL Centre for Behaviour Change, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 7HB, UK.
8
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Behaviour change is key to addressing both the challenges facing human health and wellbeing and to promoting the uptake of research findings in health policy and practice. We need to make better use of the vast amount of accumulating evidence from behaviour change intervention (BCI) evaluations and promote the uptake of that evidence into a wide range of contexts. The scale and complexity of the task of synthesising and interpreting this evidence, and increasing evidence timeliness and accessibility, will require increased computer support. The Human Behaviour-Change Project (HBCP) will use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to (i) develop and evaluate a 'Knowledge System' that automatically extracts, synthesises and interprets findings from BCI evaluation reports to generate new insights about behaviour change and improve prediction of intervention effectiveness and (ii) allow users, such as practitioners, policy makers and researchers, to easily and efficiently query the system to get answers to variants of the question 'What works, compared with what, how well, with what exposure, with what behaviours (for how long), for whom, in what settings and why?'.

METHODS:

The HBCP will: a) develop an ontology of BCI evaluations and their reports linking effect sizes for given target behaviours with intervention content and delivery and mechanisms of action, as moderated by exposure, populations and settings; b) develop and train an automated feature extraction system to annotate BCI evaluation reports using this ontology; c) develop and train machine learning and reasoning algorithms to use the annotated BCI evaluation reports to predict effect sizes for particular combinations of behaviours, interventions, populations and settings; d) build user and machine interfaces for interrogating and updating the knowledge base; and e) evaluate all the above in terms of performance and utility.

DISCUSSION:

The HBCP aims to revolutionise our ability to synthesise, interpret and deliver evidence on behaviour change interventions that is up-to-date and tailored to user need and context. This will enhance the usefulness, and support the implementation of, that evidence.

KEYWORDS:

Artificial intelligence; Behaviour change interventions; Evidence synthesis; Implementation; Machine learning; Natural language processing; Ontology

PMID:
29047393
PMCID:
PMC5648456
DOI:
10.1186/s13012-017-0641-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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