Successful NSRII eHealth symposium
The Health, Medical and Neuropsychology unit of Leiden University, in collaboration with the Netherlands Society for Research on Internet Interventions (NSRII), organized an inspiring symposium on the state of the art in the field of research on eHealth interventions. This successful symposium took place on 15 October 2015 in Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden.
eHealth refers to the use of new information and communication technology, especially internet technology, to support or enhance health and health care. The field of eHealth is broad and ever-advancing, including research on clinical applications using the Internet, mobile devices, digital gaming, virtual reality, remote sensing and robotics. The Netherlands Society for Research on Internet Interventions (NSRII) is a non-profit organisation committed to advancing the scientific approach to studying eHealth interventions. Each year, a NSRII symposium is organized by one of the Dutch universities who are involved in eHealth research. The goal of the annual NSRII symposium is to offer researchers in this field the opportunity to meet each other, to exchange ideas, and to gain knowledge on the latest developments.
Keynote speaker was Professor Gerhard Andersson of Linköping University in Sweden, one of the most influential researchers on Internet-based psychological treatments worldwide. His presentation dealt with the question whether we can use internet interventions to improve our current psychological treatments. Supporting his statement with the results of multiple studies, he concluded that the answer to this question is yes. Professor Andersson claimed that we now have reached the stage in which face-to-face therapy can learn from eHealth.
After professor Andersson’s keynote, three PhD students informed the audience about their latest research. Eirini Karyotaki of VU University Amsterdam spoke about her meta-analysis of predictors of dropout in an online treatment for depression. Nadine Köhle (University of Twente) discussed user experiences of her web-based self-help intervention aimed at partners of cancer patients. Finally, Sylvia van Beugen (Leiden University) and Maaike Ferwerda (Radboud UMC Nijmegen) presented their eCoach project, a tailored cognitive behavioural treatment for patients with chronic somatic conditions.
In laptop demonstrations, several eHealth researchers presented the latest developments in innovative interventions. Among them were several researchers from Leiden University, who presented various current eHealth projects conducted at the Health, Medical and Neuropsychology unit, including serious gaming and eHealth interventions to optimize the immune system in healthy and chronically ill populations (Lemmy Schakel and Meriem Manai), eHealth cognitive behavioural treatment for patients with chronic somatic conditions (Lieke Wirken) and a project on national implementation of online cognitive behaviour therapy for chronic pain (Grip on Pain; Rosalie van der Vaart).
Next, Professor Judith Rosmalen (University of Groningen) spoke about the intervention Grip on symptoms, which is an online system for personalised care for medically unexplained symptoms. The project aims to implement a nationwide screening and referral system to offer patients tailored care. Dr. Rosalie van der Vaart discussed the online CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) module of this intervention, which is implemented in national mental health care institutes. The main goal of Grip on pain is to improve the coping of patients with chronic pain and to decrease the effect their pain has on their daily lives.
Finally, Dr. Rafael Bidarra (associate professor Game Technology of TU Delft) talked about serious gaming in health. He titled his presentation ‘The games, they are a-changin’. Applied or serious games are taking over a lot of sectors in society, thanks to, for example, changing attitudes, technological developments, and consciousness of the impact these games can have. Dr. Bidarra showed several attractive examples of health-related games.
The final word was for Professor Andrea Evers, head of the Health, Medical and Neuropsychology unit of Leiden University and NSRII board member. She was chair and hostess of the symposium, which she organized together with Rosalie van der Vaart and Sylvia van Beugen.
Thanks to the enthusiastic contributions of researchers from different research groups and disciplines this fifth NSRII symposium was an inspiring and successful one.