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CBC Digi-Hub Blog



A sneak peek at the conference keynotes

By Carmen E Lefevre, on 8 February 2017

By Aiste Bileviciute

The Centre for Behaviour Change’s annual digital health conference will take place on the 22nd-23rd of February. This year’s conference will be on the theme of ‘harnessing digital technology for health behaviour change’. The conference themes will include:

  • Using behaviour change theory to create high-quality interventions and products
  • Multi-disciplinary approaches to digital health and wellbeing
  • Developments in wearable and sensor technology
  • Creating developer/ industry partnerships.

We’re looking forward to a breadth of interesting talks from user perspectives of mobile apps and human centred design to new approaches to evaluation and learning. As in previous years, the conference will feature a mix of academics, public sector and private sector attendee’s. We’re especially excited to have a large spike in start-ups presenting and attending this year.

There will be three keynote speakers during the conference each of which will be focusing on emerging digital health research in their respective fields.


Keynote 1: William Riley

William Riley is the Director of the NIH Office of Behavioural and Social Sciences Research. His research interests include psychological health risk factors and applying new technologies in behavioural measurement and intervention.

For example, one of Riley’s studies reviews the application of health behaviour theories to mobile interventions. The review found that only few mobile health intervention studies were grounded in health behaviour theories. The review suggests that mobile health interventions could benefit from considering health behaviour theories in order to better understand human behaviour change.

Riley will deliver a talk entitled: “Digital Technologies are Transforming the Behavioural and Social Sciences into a Data Rich Science”

Abstract: In their beginnings social and behavioural sciences have suffered from poor data. Riley will discuss how the emergence of digital technologies has empowered social and behavioural sciences to improve their methodologies, data collection and recruitment strategies. Adaption of these digital technologies in social and behavioural sciences can enable them to become data-rich sciences.


Keynote 2: Ching-Hua Chen

Ching-Hua Chen leads an interdisciplinary health research team at IBM. Her research has focused on developing technology-based approaches to studying health behaviour. Her team aims to improve the quality of health behaviour and patient experience through analysis of temporal data such as wearable devices.

For example, one of Chen’s studies investigates technology’s role in healthcare efficiency and efficacy. The study suggested that the use of technology can reshape the healthcare industry into a more evidence-enhanced practice with greater efficiency.

Chen’s keynote is titled: “An industry perspective on health behaviour research”

Abstract: IBM has grown its healthcare research over the past decade and have launched the Watson Health business unit in 2015. Chen will be sharing IBM’s vision on health innovation and highlighting key research demonstrating innovative methods in health research.


Keynote 3: Susan Murphy

Susan Murphy is a H.E. Robbins Distinguished University Professor of Statistics; Research Professor, Institute for Social Research; Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include time-adaptive interventions in mobile health technologies. In particular, she is interested in developing methods and algorithms that can be applied to wearable devices.

For example, one of Murphy’s studies proposes a micro-randomised trial design in mobile health behavioural interventions. The exposure to treatment in micro-randomised trials is randomised from hundreds to thousands of different occasions. This enables researchers to see in which context the treatment is most effective.

Her keynote is titled: “Assessing Moderated Effects of Mobile Health Interventions on Behaviour”

Abstract: Mobile health intervention development faces the challenge of context-sensitivity in their efficacy. Contextual aspects such as location, stress and time of day can affect the usefulness of these interventions. Murphy will discuss the micro-randomised trial design for use in assessing moderation. She will also discuss the micro-randomised trial of HeartSteps – a physical activity mobile intervention.


BIO: Aiste is a Psychology undergraduate student at the University of Westminster. She is interning at UCL’s Centre for Behaviour Change as part of her four-year sandwich degree. Aiste has recently taken over managing the Digi-Hub and is in the process of developing a mobile health intervention study with her colleagues at UCL.

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