What can you do with a PhD in Personal Health Informatics?

Learn about the PhD in Personal Health Informatics direct from the source: Northeastern University students and faculty in the PHI program.

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Assistive Technologies

Researchers in the Personal Health Informatics program are studying person- and patient-facing assistive technologies for adults and children that use novel human-computer interface strategies and sensor technologies.

+ Read about the CadLab…

Measuring Everyday Behavior

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, NEU researchers are studying how to use consumer electronics to continuously measure everyday behaviors, such as physical activity in real-time. These systems create new opportunities in research and health intervention design.

+ Read about the mHealth lab…


Northeastern researchers are exploring how innovative mobile “apps” using advanced interface design and sensing, as well as low-cost forms of communication such as text messaging, may permit affordable and sustainable delivery of high-quality care and promote lifelong wellness.

Person/Patient-Facing Technologies

The focus of the doctoral program in Personal Health Informatics is on systems designed primarily for the patient and designed to be used before, during, and after traditional medical care. For example, the Virtual Nurse assists hospital patients at the Boston Medical Center.

+ Read about the Virtual Nurse…

Persuasive Technologies

Internet and mobile systems are being designed and evaluated that use behavioral science and new affordances of technology to encourage long-term, healthy behaviors.

Learning Aids for Children with Special Needs

Northeastern researchers are creating the next-generation of assistive technologies for children, to assist with reading, speech, and language acquisition.

Design, implementation, and Evaluation

The doctoral program in Personal Health Informatics curriculum includes topics ranging from human-computer interaction to fundamental theories driving health system development to statistics and research design.

Home Monitoring and Telemedicine

Ubiquitous computing creates new opportunities to deliver care outside of traditional medical settings. Researchers are using novel sensing systems to collect data from homes to study how new technologies might provide health monitoring, assist people coping with chronic conditions, and help people stay healthy and independent as they age.

Health Informatics

In addition to the unique Personal Health Informatics doctoral program, Northeastern is home to a top professional masters program in Health Informatics, with faculty from Boston’s world-class health organizations.

+ Learn about the M.S. in HI…

Computational Behavioral Psychology

Researchers are studying how new sensor technologies can be used for longitudinal monitoring of children and adults that supports preventive health, including early diagnosis.

Social Health Technologies

Northeastern researchers are studying new technologies that encourage social interaction to assist children with special needs.

Applications for Fall 2016 are due in December 15. Apply.

Personal Health Informatics at Northeastern University
Funded positions available

Northeastern University’s interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Personal Health Informatics prepares researchers to design and evaluate technologies that improve health and wellness with the potential to transform healthcare. The joint degree program combines a strong curriculum in human-computer interface technology and experimental design in health sciences.

Personal health technologies are those that non-health professionals interact with directly, both in and out of a clinical setting and in various life stages of illness and wellness.

Example areas of research and study:

  • Consumer wellness promotion technologies
  • Automated patient education and counseling systems
  • Personal health records and portals
  • Assistive technologies that aid persons with special needs
  • Automated eldercare systems that support aging at home
  • Telemedicine and mobile health monitoring systems
  • Social networking systems connecting families and their medical support networks

Graduates will be prepared to succeed as faculty, industry scientific advisors and entrepreneurs. This program’s transdisciplinary nature and its focus on innovative technology to improve care from the patient’s perspective distinguishes it from doctoral degree programs in computer science and medical and health informatics.