The International Society for Research on Internet Interventions (ISRII) held its 7th Scientific Meeting in Valencia, Spain, in October (23rd – 25th, 2014). The Conference motto, namely Blending Technologies to Improve Health: Global Reach, Personal Impact, was well attended, with more than 300 international attendees from countries such as Australia, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States of America, among others. The chairs of this 7th edition were Dr Cristina Botella and Dr Rosa Maria Baños.
The congress took place at the historic La Nau building a 15th century construction, which is undoubtedly the bastion of the Universitat de Valencia, with regards to both architecture itself and its contents. This exceptional building located in the centre of Valencia constitutes the very history of the University and also holds part of the University’s most important collections. The Universitat de Valencia of today is the outcome of more than five centuries of history that have led to the accumulation of knowledge and unique documentary treasures, making it one of the top Spanish universities. For more than 500 years, the development of the University of Valencia has run in parallel with the development of the city and has been an inextricable part of its urban fabric, creating spaces for teaching, research, creation and dissemination of culture and science, as well as knowledge transfer.
The Rector of the Universitat de Valencia, D. Esteban Morcillo Sánchez, attended the Opening Session, chaired by the then President of the ISRII Association, Dr. Heleen Riper, as well as other personalities from the local government and the European Commission, Dr. Gisele Roesems-Kerremans, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Connect, Unit H1-Health and Well-Being.
Lucy Yardley, Professor of Health Psychology at University of Southampton and Leanne Morrison, postdoctoral research fellow at University of Southampton presented their workshop entitled “Creating and Evaluating Digital Interventions Using LifeGuide and UBhave”. This workshop provided an introduction to the freely available open source LifeGuide and UBhave software, illustrating how you can use it to develop web- and phone-based interventions and analyse usage.
Andrea Gaggioli, researcher at the Psychology Department of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and consultant at the Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab (ATN-P LAB) of Istituto Auxologico Italiano presented his workshop entitled “The use of mHealth in mental health research and practice: from design to evaluation”, aimed at describing the use of mobile tools in mental health research and practice, focusing on basic issues related to the design and evaluation of mobile applications for mental wellbeing.
Azucena García Palacios, Lecturer in psychopathology at Jaume I University of Castellón (Spain) presented her workshop entitled “Information and communication technologies in the assessment and psychological treatment of chronic pain”, introducing the different ICT applications they have developed to support a therapeutic component which aim is to promote positive emotions and motivation to enhance the activity pacing. Patients learn and practice therapeutic strategies in their natural environment and on their own, promoting self-management and self-efficacy.
Burkhardt Funk, full professor of information systems at Leuphana University Lüneburg and Jeroen Ruwaard, programmer and senior researcher at the department of Clinical Psychology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (the Netherlands), introduced their workshop entitled “Using R and RStudio for Modern E-mental Health Research: A Bring-Your-Laptop Workshop”. This one-day bring-your-laptop workshop kick-started participants in using R, a freely available statistical software package
Javier García Campayo, national coordinator for mental health research and new technologies of the Spanish Primary Care Research Network (REDIAPP), presented his keynote conference entitled “Internet interventions in Spain: State-of-the-art and future trends.” With his keynote speech, he summarized the different internet interventions for specific psychiatric disorders, describing the problems for their implementation in the Spanish National Health Service and elucidate future trends and issues to be resolved.
Giuseppe Riva, Director of the Interactive Communication and Ergonomics of New Italy Lab, presented the speech entitled ” The Emergence of Positive Technology: potential and applications”, providing a “Positive Technology” approach: the scientific and applied approach to the use of technology for improving the quality of our personal experience through its structuring, augmentation and/or replacement.
Paul Pauli, Chair at the Department of Biological Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at Würzburg University, Germany, presented his keynote speech “Fear and Anxiety tackled by Virtual Reality and Internet Interventions”, setting up the utility Virtual Reality and Internet interventions provide to offer new and promising approaches to overcome anxiety and other disorders.
Mario Álvarez-Jiménez, Director of Online Interventions Research and Innovation at Orygen Youth Health Research Centre at the University of Melbourne. He presented his keynote speech entitled “Thinking outside the box: Online Social Media, Mobile Technologies and Positive Psychology for Long Term functional Recovery in First Episode Psychosis.” He introduced a great perspective of the way Internet and the mobile technologies can be of great support in the identification and treatment of early psychosis.
Pim Cuijpers, Head of the Department of Clinical Psychology at the VU University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), presented his keynote speech entitled “The future of Internet Interventions for common mental disorders”, where some examples were given on how Internet interventions may improve treatment selection and help with the further reduction of the disease burden of common mental disorders.
Mark van der Gaag, Professor of Clinical Psychology at VU University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), presented his keynote speech entitled “Virtual Reality and Psychosis: A Review of the Literature”, where he addressed and reviewed the VR studies in psychosis and tentatively set a research agenda for the years to come.
The main programme consisted of different symposiums about the use of Internet interventions, technologies and technological applications, from mobile to Virtual Reality and within several fields covering the full scope of health: oncology, asthma, sleep, insomnia, diabetes, tobacco use, eating disorders. Also specific symposiums were focused on children, adolescents and youth.
The ISRII Throwdown! is worth a special mention. This now traditional event challenges participants from varying backgrounds to work together to conceptualize and storyboard a new eHealth intervention application. This year’s throwdown focused on hoarding disorder. It was great fun, and a chance for the participants to meet new people, while trying to come up with the best eHealth intervention for the chosen disorder.
Professor Judy Proudfoot was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by then ISRII president, Heleen Riper (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands) for her contribution to and leadership in the field of e-Health and the Society.
After the Closing Ceremony, most attendees took part in a private tour of the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno – IVAM as part of the social activities included in the social program of the congress. A.
Afterwards, they all enjoyed a gala dinner at the restaurant La Sucursal