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 Tobias Kowatsch, Fabian Wahle & Andreas Filler have been nominated for the Best Research-in-Progress Paper entitled stressOUT: Design, Implementation and Evaluation of a Mouse-based Stress Management Service at the 12th International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology (DESRIST) 2017, in Karlsruhe, Germany. The paper is part of the JSISS project and available here as PDF.


Kowatsch Wahle Filler - Best RIP Nominee DESRIST 2017

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 start the new BLV project Mobile Diet Coach. The project aims to provide fully-automated interventions to improve food literacy and support health-promoting dietary behaviors.

Results of menuCH, the National Nutrition Survey conducted 2014 in Switzerland, showed that adults’ food intake is not fully in line with Swiss food-based dietary guidelines that is, the Swiss food pyramid. Therefore, with this project the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) seeks for new and effective means to support people in eating a better balanced diet.

Advanced technology-based delivery modes, such as a fully automated digital coach, make interventions to improve food literacy and support health-promoting dietary behaviors accessible for the entire population. Consumers may consult the Mobile Diet Coach on their own initiative or because health professionals, such as physicians, nutritionists, and registered dieticians invited them to do so. Elements like self-monitoring of food consumption and comparisons of intake to dietary guidelines, tailored practical feedbacks, goal setting and action plan, gamification etc. will encourage users to strive for a health-promoting diet. With help of the Mobile Diet Coach, consumers will gain nutritional knowledge and improve skills and abilities that are essential to take health-promoting food decisions in many situations and settings of daily life.

The Android and iOS applications will build on the behavioral health intervention platform MobileCoach.




We would like to thank Lisa Marsch and her team at the Dartmouth Center for Technology and Behavioral Health (CTBH) (www.c4tbh.org) for their invitation and their great hospitality. The following guest lectures and workshops were conducted at the Dartmouth CTBH:

  1. Elgar Fleisch, Digital Pill: What We Do and Learn at the Crossing of Behavioral Information Systems and NCDs
  2. Andreas Filler & Tobias Kowatsch, MobileCoach Workshop – Overview, Interventions & Demonstrations
  3. Tobias Kowatsch & Andreas Filler, From Research Prototypes Towards Certified Digital Pills













We would like to thank the organisers of Trendtage Gesundheit Luzern for their invitation and great hospitality. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch gave a brief overview on the internet of things in healthcare and digital pills. The video recording is available (in German only) here: Video Clip.



© Bruno Näpflin



Copyright Trendtage Gesundheit Luzern 2017

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)