The overall objective of vCare is to support The Recovery of an Active and Independent Life at Home (Main Objective 1) for patients recovering from impairments/disabilities. This shall be realised by a Smart Virtual Coaching System (Main Objective 2), providing rehabilitation guidance and guaranteeing the continuity of care in the home environment and daily life. These two main objectives and the underlying sub-goals are presented in the following:

Sub-Goal 1.1: Enhancement of Quality of Life (QoL)

Policy makers and clinicians increasingly recognize that people and patients can safeguard their QoL by making healthy lifestyle choices and being actively engaged in their health care. Due to the complexity of the clinical evaluation, the evidence regarding the relationship between QoL and patient engagement is quite weak, especially within European ICT-projects. Thus, the project vCare aims to enhance the QoL and provide a reliable statement of its development.

Sub-Goal 1.2: Risk Factor Reduction

The potential for relapse or a decline of health status closely depends on the development of the risk factors of the patient (e.g. blood pressure, weight, physical and cognitive activity, social life etc.). The rehabilitation supported by a virtual coach should facilitate the reduction of risk factors.

Sub-Goal 1.3: Better Adherence to Care Plan

The virtual coaching solution should support the adherence to the individual rehabilitation program. Thereby, it becomes an essential supplement for the direct contact to the clinical specialists.

Sub-Goal 1.4: Personalization and Health Promotion

The personalisation should help to foster the patient’s health promotion. Especially in the case of non-chronic diseases, an adequate health promotion can lead to a long-term behavioural change of habits, which decreases the economic effects and the probability of a relapse.

Sub-Goal 2.1.1: Clinical Pathway Integration

The system will serve an integration of clinical pathways, as they allow a patient-specific adjustment of the rehabilitation program to the patient’s needs and progression in the recovery.

Sub-Goal 2.1.2: Personalized Coaching Services

The coaching environment will provide various coaching services (in terms of the type of application and interaction). These services will be configurable in order to personalise the intensity, content and requests, enabling an optimal engagement of the patient.

Sub-Goal 2.1.3: Platform Orientation

The coaching environment will provide various coaching services (in terms of the type of application and interaction). Coaching services have to be configurable to personalize the intensity, content, and requests for an optimal engagement of the patient.

Sub-Goal 2.1.4: Semantic Layer

The open environment platform design requires an approach that allows integrating information from different sources such as cognitive and physical data of the patient, information about his/her environment or of the progress within the clinical pathway. Semantic technologies provide the ability to identify and interpret all information in the rehabilitation context and thus can be used.

Sub-Goal 2.2.1: Proof of Scalability

The scalability of the vCare needs to be proofed in different European Countries and technical infrastructures.

Sub-Goal 2.2.2: Participatory Design and Evaluation

The acceptance of a virtual coaching solution is crucial for the patient’s motivation, leading to his/her participation. Hence, the patient (and his/her medical care givers) as main recipient of such a system will consequently be included in each development phase.

Sub-Goal 2.2.3: Proof in Different European Countries

vCare requires being used in different national systems and ICT infrastructures and for different diseases and rehabilitation settings. Thus, a multi-site and multi-setting approach is applied.

Sub-Goal 2.3: Multi-Channel Exploitation

To reach a broad audience and different markets for the project results, the vCare consortium aims to follow a multi-channel exploitation, where the market and scientific exploitation are linked closely to each other.