GBI students’ work gets accepted to HCII 2015

Third year GBI students, Mads Christophersen, Peter Mørck and Tue Odd Langhoff’s paper “Unforeseen Challenges: Adopting Wearable Health Data Tracking Devices to Reduce Health Insurance Costs in Organizations”, supervised by Pernille Bjørn (TiP), has been accepted into the proceedings for the Human-Computer Interaction international conference 2015 in Los Angeles.

What is your project about?
Very shortly, it researches the challenges of wearable health data tracking devices. Actually, we started out with the idea that we wanted to research big data, the challenges of big data, and then, with the supervision of Pernille, we narrowed in on the subject.
60% of the American population has insurance through their work. In the aftermath of Obama care self insured companies have been allowed, through wellness programs, to differentiate insurance premiums of their employees based on their health data. The companies track their employees health data through these wearable health data tracking devices. The initiative was meant for helping motivating people to be healthier, but is sometimes used as a disciplinary tool instead. People in marginalised groups may end up having to pay more for their insurance, because they have a hard time keeping up good health data. Furthermore, there is an issue of surveillance with the wearable health data tracker. These are some of the challenges we touch upon in our project.

How come you could write a 15 ETCS point project on your fifth semester?
Well, we decided to combine our 7,5 ECTS elective on the fifth and sixth semester, and write a 15 point project instead. It was a tough semester with a workload of two 15 ETCS course (the project being one of them) and a 7,5 ECTS point course. We had a lot of work to do, but we would recommend it to anyone who asks. It is a great opportunity to work with something you find interesting, and kind of make your own curriculum. It also prepared us for the bachelor project, which is nice.

How was the process of going from just writing an exam project to actually get your work accepted into a big international conference?
Pernille asked us early on in the process if we would be interested in taking our project to the next level and sending it to different relevant conferences. So she guided us through the process, we wrote our 30 pages exam report, and defended it at an oral exam, then a couple of days after that we boiled our report down to a 4 page extended abstract, and send it to HCII. When they responded positively, we had to conform our research from the exam report into a 10 page article, which is what has been accepted to the conference proceedings. Of course it is some extra work, but it is motivating, when it succeeds.
Pernille has been a huge inspirator, and she has really guided us well. We have had a great collaboration, and managed to discuss many things with her, while not always just agreeing. It has made the process very dynamic.

How does it feel to publish something on a big international conference, and to have other people read your work?
It feels great. We are excited about it. We felt like we had found an interesting subject that could be interesting to people outside of the exam room, but before we got accepted to HCII, we only joked about us going to LA. Of course, the ultimate success would be if our work someday became new student’s curriculum – we would like that hehe.

What is next?
We fly to LA in August to present our paper at the conference. It is like, ‘so we just finished our bachelors degree, now we’re flying to LA to present our paper’, it is crazy but cool. Especially, because mostly PhD students get their work accepted, so the fact that we are undergraduates is very rare. But that is the great thing about GBI, there is a lot of room for doing stuff like this – finding the good story, and then research it in a socio-technical perspective.

It is a great achievement for the three GBI students, and we are very proud. Congratulations and good luck on the conference in August.

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