We are happy to announce that Shawna N. Smith, Research Assistant Professor at Medical School (Psychiatry and Internal Medicine), University of Michigan, will give a guest lecture entitled How to Design and Evaluate Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions (JITAIs) using Microrandomized Trials at ETH Zürich on August 23, 2017.

  • Location: ETH Zurich, WEV Building, Weinbergstrasse 56/58, 8092 Zürich, Room F109-111
  • Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
  • Time: 15:00 – 16:30


About Shawna N. Smith
Shawna N. Smith, PhD, is a sociologist and methodologist interested in improving population health through optimizing and expanding delivery of behavioral healthcare services and interventions. Much of her work focuses on improving access to behavioral health evidence-based practices in community-based settings and physical healthcare spaces. As Research Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan Medical School (Departments of Psychiatry & Internal Medicine), she currently works on four NIH funded projects aimed at improving population health by increasing access to physical activity, collaborative care and cognitive behavioral therapy interventions through new delivery modalities and implementation strategies. Methodologically, her work employs microrandomized trials (MRT) and cluster-randomized sequential multiple-assignment randomized trial (SMART) designs to evaluate contextual moderation, comparative effectiveness, and optimal treatment delivery and intervention support.

About the Guest Lecture
Mobile technologies are increasingly being used to deliver health and behavior change-related (mHealth) interventions. By combining opportunities for real-time, in situ intervention delivery with (frequently passive) streams of intensive data collection, researchers are now able to develop and optimize just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAIs). JITAIs are mHealth interventions that use decision rules to deliver the right intervention components at the right times and locations to optimally support individuals’ health behaviors over the long-term.
This talk will describe the key elements of a JITAI, and also present one experimental design method for optimizing JITAIs, the microrandomized trial (MRT). In MRTs, participants are sequentially randomized to receive intervention components at multiple decision points throughout study conduct, with the result that each participant may be randomized hundreds or thousands of times over the course of a study. As such, MRTs enable modeling of causal treatment effects and time-varying effect moderation for individual intervention components on proximal outcomes of interest within a JITAI. Examples and results from the six-week HeartSteps study, an MRT designed to inform a JITAI for increasing physical activity, will be used to illustrate MRT design, analyses and potential further work relevant to JITAI optimization.

We are happy to announce that the following two papers have been accepted for presentation at the 12th International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology (DESRIST) 2017 in Karlsruhe, Germany:

  1. Kowatsch, T., Wahle, F., Filler, A., stressOUT: Design, Implementation and Evaluation of a Mouse-based Stress Management Service, In: Designing the Digital Transformation: DESRIST 2017 Research in Progress Proceedings, Maedche, A., vom Brocke, J., Hevner, A. (eds), KIT Scientific Working Papers; 64, Karlsruhe, Germany, 37-45. (PDF)
  2. Kowatsch, T., Volland, D., Shih, I., Rüegger, D., Künzler, F., Barata, F., Filler, A., Büchter, D., Brogle, B., Heldt, K., Gindrat, P., Farpour-Lambert, N., l’Allemand, D., Design and Evaluation of a Mobile Chat App for the Open Source Behavioral Health Intervention Platform MobileCoach, In: Maedche A., vom Brocke J., Hevner A. (eds) Designing the Digital Transformation. DESRIST 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10243. Springer: Berlin; Germany, 485-489. (Paper-PDF | Poster-PDF | Slide-PDF | Screencast)


Today, we could present some of our projects at Treffpunkt Science City, at ETH Zurich, ETH Hönggerberg, Chemiegebäude HCI. In particular we could present demos of the following projects and prototypes:

  1. A relaxation exercise developed in the SNF project PathMate 2
  2. Stress detection via mouse movements, investigated in the GFF project JSISS
  3. Corporate Health Teamcoach demo developed in the CTI project CH-Teamcoach


We are pleased to announce that today we start together with health psychologist Prof. Dr. Urte Scholz from the University of Zurich our new SNF project Measuring the Impact of Social Support and Common Dyadic Coping on Couple’s Dyadic Management of Type II Diabetes by a Novel Ambulatory Assessment Application for the Open Source Behavioral Intervention Platform MobileCoach.

Diabetes mellitus Type II is a common chronic disease. To manage blood glucose levels patients need to follow medical recommendations for healthy eating, physical activity, and medication adherence in their everyday life. Illness management is mainly shared with partners or spouses and may involve social support and common dyadic coping (CDC). Received social support and common dyadic coping have been identified as having implications for people’s health behavior and well-being. Visible received support, however, may also be negatively related to people’s well-being. Thus, the concept of invisible social support was introduced recently: that is, support provided that occurs outside of the awareness of the recipient or that is not encoded as support. So far, however, it is unknown which of these concepts (visible, invisible support, CDC) displays the most beneficial associations with health behavior and well-being when considered together in the context of illness management in couples. Furthermore, measurement of support and CDC in people’s everyday lives is usually by self-report only. Thus, more objective operationalizations of these constructs might solve common problems connected to self-report.

Today, we welcome our new PhD student Sergei Liubich at the Health Information Systems Lab. His thesis will focus on the design and evaluation of digital health interventions in the context of chronic disease management in couples. In particular, his technical work will focus on emotion recognition from speech in the SNF project Mobile Couple Support.

Sergei Liubich

We were happy to present the following prototype paper at the International Conference on Wirtschaftsinformatik (WI 2017) in St. Gallen: Tinschert, P., Barata, F., Kowatsch, T., Enhancing Asthma Control through IT: Design, Implementation and Planned Evaluation of the Mobile Asthma Companion, in Leimeister, J.M.; Brenner, W. (Hrsg.): Proceedings der 13th International Conference on Wirtschaftsinformatik (WI 2017), St. Gallen, 1291-1294. (PDF)



We are happy to announce that we have just published the following article: Dimitriadis, S., Tarnanas, I., Wiederhold, M., Wiederhold, B., Tsolaki, M., Fleisch, E., Mnemonic strategy training of the elderly at risk for dementia enhances integration of information processing via cross-frequency coupling, Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions 2 (4) 241-249. (PDF)

Today, we welcome our new PhD student Florian Künzler at the CSS Health Lab. His thesis will focus on the design and evaluation of digital health interventions in the context of diet and physical activity coaching. In particular, his technical work will focus on state of receptivity & interuptability aspects for just-in-time adaptive digital health interventions.

Florian Künzler

We are happy to announce that Lisa A. Marsch, Director of the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health (CTBH), will give a guest lecture entitled Transforming Health and HealthCare via Science-based Digital Technologies at ETH Zürich on October 25, 2016 (PDF). Just before her lecture, PhD students of the Center for Digital Health Interventions will present their digital health interventions and latest prototypes (check out our latest projects here) in a hands-on demo session.

  • Location: ETH Zurich, WEV Building, Weinbergstrasse 56/58, 8092 Zürich, Room F109-111
  • Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2016
  • Schedule:
    • 3:30 – 4:30pm Demo session of PhD Students of the Center for Digital Health Interventions (CDHI)
    • 4:30 – 6:00pm Guest Lecture by Lisa A. Marsch


About Lisa A. Marsch
Lisa A. Marsch, Ph.D. is the Director of the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health (CTBH; a P30 “Center of Excellence” supported by the National Institutes of Health); the Director of the Northeast Node of the National Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network; and the Andrew G. Wallace Professor within the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. She is also co-founder of Square2 Systems, Inc. (www.square2.co).


About the Guest Lecture
Digital technologies have radically transformed many sectors of our society, including areas of finance, business, retail, education, and social communications, and offers considerable promise for similarly transforming healthcare delivery models. About 98% of individuals worldwide have access to mobile devices, and mobile health interventions have frequently been shown to produce outcomes that are comparable to, or better than, healthcare delivered by clinicians. Mobile health tools can also be widely accessible, personalizable, and cost-effective. In this lecture, Dr. Lisa A. Marsch will provide an overview of the state of the science in the development, evaluation, and implementation of mobile technology-based therapeutic interventions for promoting behavioral health (addressing issues of substance abuse and mental health) as well as health behavior (e.g., preventative health; chronic disease management; medical regimen adherence). These tools are designed to deliver engaging and effective interventions for health promotion and to collectively lead to transformations in the delivery of science-based health care – by improving quality of care, access to care, and health outcomes, while reducing costs of care (see www.c4tbh.org).

We are happy to announce that Tobias Kowatsch was awarded the Prize for the best doctoral thesis in economic science at the University of St.Gallen (HSG) on Monday, September 19, 2016, when the University awarded 46 Doctor’s degrees in economic science. Tobias wrote his thesis on “Emotions in Ubiquitous Information Systems: An Empirical Investigation of Electrodermal Activity and Its Relation to Service Breakdowns, Perceived Ease of Use, and Task Performance” (PDF). He is greatly indebted to his PhD supervisors, Prof. Dr. Elgar Fleisch and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Maaß, for their wise guidance, visionary thoughts, and hands-on attitude.