Digital Health Forum, Fall 2023, University of St.Gallen


  1. Dr. Naseem Ahmadpour, University of Sydney, Australia, Therapeutic VR: Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of Care, 27 September 2023, 9 am CET
  2. Prof. Jessilyn Dunn, PhD, Duke University Pratt School of Engineering, USA, The Digital Physiome: Wearables for Disease Detection and Monitoring, 5 October 2023, 3:15 pm CET
  3. Dr. Caroline Lustenberger, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, Rhythms of the Sleeping Brain: Unlocking Their Potential as Early Disease Biomarkers and Treatment Targets, 26 October 2023, 2:30 pm CET
  4. Prof. John Torous, PhD, Director and Co-Founder Digital Psychiatry Division in the Department of Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BDIMC), Harvard Medical School, USA, Beyond Telehealth: Advances in Digital Mental Health Research and Practical Clinical Considerations for Smartphone Apps in Care, 09 November 2023, 04:15 CET
  5. Erich Kruschitz, CEO, SanusX, Austria, 14 November 2023, 2:15 pm CET
  6. Dr. Miriam Alzate, Universidad Pública de Navarra, Spain, Unraveling Consumer Insights, 29 November 2023, 4:15 pm CET

Digital Therapeutics from Bench to Bedside (npj Digital Medicine 2023), Digital Therapeutics for Mental Health & Addiction (Elsevier 2023), Large language model AI chatbots require approval as medical devices (Nature Medicine 2023), Benefits, Limits, and Risks of GPT-4 as an AI Chatbot for Medicine (The New England Journal of Medicine 2023), Wearable sensors enable personalized predictions of clinical laboratory measurements (Nature Medicine 2021), The advent of health technologies associated with artificial intelligence (AI) will be the most radical change in how medical care is delivered in our lifetime (The Lancet Digital Health, 2023)

What are the implications and rationale behind the recent developments in digital health technologies?

Digital health technologies (DHT) are used for preventing, managing, and treating disease. DHTs may leverage digital biomarkers, digital coaches and healthcare chatbots, telemedicine, mobile and wearable computing, self‐tracking, personalized medicine, connected health, smart homes, or smart cars.

In the 20th century, healthcare systems specialized in acute care. In the 21st century, we now face the challenge of dealing with the specific characteristics of chronic conditions. These are now responsible for around 70% of all deaths worldwide and 85% of all deaths in Europe and are associated with an estimated economic loss of $7 trillion between 2011 and 2025. Chronic diseases require an intervention paradigm that focuses on health-promoting behavior. Lifestyle (e.g., diet, physical activity, tobacco, or alcohol consumption) can reduce the risk of suffering from a chronic condition. However, a lifestyle change is only implemented by a fraction of those affected, partly because of missing or inadequate interventions or health literacy, partly due to sociocultural influences. Individual personal coaching of these individuals is neither scalable nor financially sustainable.

Against this background, the question arises of how DHTs allow medical doctors and other caregivers to scale and tailor long-term treatments to individuals in need at sustainable costs. At the intersection of health economics, information systems research, computer science, and behavioral medicine, this lecture aims to help students and upcoming healthcare executives interested in the DHTs better understand the latest developments in this field.

After the course, students will be able to…

  1. understand the importance of DHTs for health care management
  2. describe and understand a specific DHT
  3. discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a specific DHT

Course Content

To reach the learning objectives, students will assess the most innovative Digital Health Technologies (DHTs) that are currently being discussed (e.g., large language model AI chatbots in healthcare, holographic physiotherapy coaches) from multiple perspectives (e.g., benefits for an aging society, regulatory aspects, ethical aspects, health economics, technology acceptance).

Course structure

The lecture is structured in three parts, with on-site sessions, guest lectures, and complementary online exercises. In the first part, during a kick-off session, an overview of Digital Health Technologies (DHTs) will be provided, and students in groups will pick or propose a specific DHT they will assess. In the second part, national and international experts from industry and academia will provide valuable input via guest lectures (primarily online via Zoom). Complementary learning material and multiple-choice questions are provided online. Moreover, coaching sessions are offered to support the students in preparing their presentations. In the third part, students will present and discuss the results with fellow students.

Specific information, including the instructions for the final group presentations, will be made available via the online learning platform during a kick-off session (which will also be recorded). The final group presentations will take place at the School of Medicine, Room 62-406.

Course literature

  1. Digital Therapeutics Alliance (2023) DTx Evaluation Toolkit,
  2. Gilbert, S., Harvey, H., Melvin, T. et al. (2023). Large language model AI chatbots require approval as medical devices. Nature Medicine.
  3. Jacobson, N., Kowatsch, T., & Marsch, L. (Eds.). (2023). Digital Therapeutics for Mental Health and Addiction: The State of the Science and Vision for the Future (1st ed.). Elsevier, Academic Press.
  4. Kowatsch, T., & Fleisch, E. (2021). Digital Health Interventions. In O. Gassmann & F. Ferrandina (Eds.), Connected Business: Create Value in a Networked Economy (pp. 71-95). Springer International Publishing.
  5. Sim, I. (2019). Mobile Devices and Health. N Engl J Med, 381(10), 956-968.
  6. Wang, C., Lee, C., & Shin, H. (2023). Digital therapeutics from bench to bedside. npj Digital Medicine, 6(1), 38.

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Digital Health Forum (11,203,1.00), University of St.Gallen, Fall Semester 2023, Room 62-406, 1 ECTS, Course & Examination Fact Sheet

Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch
Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch
Associate Professor for Digital Health Interventions, Institute for Implementation Science in Health Care, University of Zurich (UZH), Director, School of Medicine, University of St.Gallen (HSG), and Scientific Director, Centre for Digital Health Interventions, UZH, HSG & ETH Zurich, Switzerland
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Contact Person
Giuliana Breu
Giuliana BreuDigital Health Forum
Executive Director, Centre for Digital Health Interventions, University of of Zurich, University of St.Gallen, and ETH Zurich
Teaching Assistant
Luisa Lager
Luisa Lager
Student Research Assistant, School of Medicine, University of St.Gallen & Teaching Assistant Digital Health Forum