Open Digital Health – accelerating health promotion and treatment during and after the COVID-19 pandemic – August 19 and 20

This Synergy Expert meeting will aim to address why fit-for-purpose validation is lacking and why digital health tools are not reused in different contexts and populations. REGISTER online by July 9.

On behalf of Synergy Organising Committee, you are invited to the European Health Psychology Conference Synergy Expert meeting, titled: Open Digital Health – accelerating health promotion and treatment during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. See description further below.

This year’s Expert Meeting will take place online from Thursday 19 to Friday 20 August 2021. This meeting will be facilitated by Dominika Kwasnicka and Robbert Sanderman and it will gather world leading experts in open digital health research. Places are limited. Click here to apply for this Expert Meeting before 09/07/21.

The meeting fee is €50; reduced fee is €30 (for all participants working in countries that are ranked low income or lower middle income; for a list of eligible countries (check worldbank ranking). Please see below detailed information regarding the meeting, please forward the invitation to other open digital health research experts. For further information please contact:

Kind regards,
IBTN Member Dr Hannah Durand
EHPS Synergy Engagement Officer


Digital health tools, defined broadly as any technology-supported tools used to promote health and wellbeing, can improve disease prevention and healthcare delivery at the population-level. These may include remote consultations, smartphone apps, websites, wearables, and external monitors. Digital health tools are rapidly becoming a norm in healthcare provision but their proliferation poses multiple challenges. The omnipresence of mobile and wearable devices gives them the potential to effectively deliver health promotion interventions and support behaviour change. This potential is widely recognised by public health bodies across the globe, with national and international policy efforts to stimulate digital health innovation and regulation. The COVID-19 pandemic has further emphasised the urgency of a digital health revolution, with digital health tools touted as a vital means to alleviate pressure on health and social care systems.

The potential of digital health tools notwithstanding, key issues lie in their evaluation and scalability: although some tools are clearly effective, their robust evaluation and successful implementation remain limited to specific geographical settings and specific diseases. Consequently, digital health tools have yet to significantly impact health and wellbeing at the population level (Gordon et al, NPJ Digital Medicine, 2020). To achieve their full potential, digital health tools need to be better evaluated, integrated and effectively scaled. This Synergy Expert meeting will aim to address two specific, closely connected issues that will be explored and discussed during the meeting:

(1) Fit-for-purpose validation is lacking.
(2) Digital health tools are not reused in different contexts and populations.


Dominika Kwasnicka (University of Melbourne and SWPS University) and Robbert Sanderman (University of Groningen and University of Twente) are both Directors of Open Digital Health Foundation. This year they jointly co-edited a book “Psychological Insights for Understanding COVID-19 and Health” (Routledge, 2021). They have both been strongly involved in the EHPS, Dominika is a past Chair of Synergy and a current Executive Board Member of the EHPS EC and Robbert is a Fellow and Past President of the Society. They are both passionate about making digital health more accessible, more scalable and more equal for all.

Selected references:

  1. Sullivan, I., DeHaven, A., & Mellor, D. (2019). Open and reproducible research on open science framework. Current Protocols Essential Laboratory Techniques, 18(1), e32.
  2. Nosek, B. A. (2014). Improving my lab, my science with the open science framework. APS Observer, 27(3).
  3. Laffey, J. G., & Kavanagh, B. P. (2018). Negative trials in critical care: why most research is probably wrong. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 6(9), 659-660.
  4. Nosek, Brian A., George Alter, George C. Banks, Denny Borsboom, Sara D. Bowman, Steven J. Breckler, Stuart Buck et al. “Promoting an open research culture.” Science 348, no. 6242 (2015): 1422-1425.