Multi-Agent Systems Supported Collaboration in Diabetic Healthcare

Abstract: This thesis proposes a holistic and hierarchical architecture to Multi-agent System design, in order to resolve the collaboration problem in diabetic healthcare system. A diabetic healthcare system is a complex and social system in the case that it involves many actors and interrelations. Collaborations among various healthcare actors are vital to the quality of diabetic healthcare. The collaboration problem is manifested by the problems of accessibility and interoperability. To support the collaboration in diabetic healthcare as such a complex and social system, the MAS must have corresponding social entities and relationships. Therefore, it is assumed that theories explaining social activity can be applied to design of MAS. Activity Theory, specifically its holistic triangle model from Engström and hierarchy thinking, provides theoretical supports to the design of individual agent architecture and MAS coordination mechanism. It is argued that the holistic and hierarchical aspects should be designed in a MAS when applied to the healthcare setting. The diabetic healthcare system is analyzed on three levels based on the hierarchy thinking. The collaboration problem is analyzed and resolved via MAS coordination. Based on the holistic activity model in Activity Theory, Müller’s Vertical Layered Architecture is re-conceptualized in the Control Unit and Knowledge Base design. It is also argued that autonomy, adaptivity and persona should be especially focused when designing the interaction between an agent system and human users. This study has firstly identified some important social aspects and the technical feasibility of embedding those identified social aspects in agent architecture design. Secondly, a MAS was developed to illustrate how to apply the proposed architecture to design a MAS to resolve the collaboration problem in diabetic healthcare system. We have designed and implemented an agent system – IMAS (Integrated Multi-agent System) to validate the research questions and contributions. IMAS system provides real time monitoring, diabetic healthcare management and decision supports to the diabetic healthcare actors. A user assessment has been conducted to validate that the quality of the current diabetic healthcare system can be improved with the introduction of IMAS.