Digital Health

We have long-term experience in research on digital health interventions. For over a decade we have conducted several randomized trials to assess the effectiveness of app-based self care interventions for mind and body and published on the results but also the lessons learned in this new research field.

Mobile health technical developments such as smartphone apps provide interesting opportunities, including strengthening of self care approaches and better access to self care interventions. In addition, they can be used in clinical research to gather data on the effectiveness but also adherence of interventions. We take a reflective approach to the digitalization in health care and the society by working closely with the Digital Society Initiative of the University of Zurich.

Our trials have made important contributions to this new field:

  • We showed that app studies are feasible, and even fully remote clinical trials as well as multi-country trials can be performed.
  • We showed that app-based self-care acupressure can reduce menstrual pain but that a relaxation app did not improve chronic neck pain.
  • We evaluated a Digital Health Application for the German DiGA registry.
  • Our lessons learned from previous studies include that agility might be the key factor in the development and research process of a potentially sustainable and evidence-based mHealth intervention.

Five Lessons Learned From Randomized Controlled Trials on Mobile Health Interventions


Claudia Witt, Prof. Dr. med.

Director of the Institute, Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine

Tel. +41 44 255 24 60
Specialties: Mind Body Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Integrative oncology

Sonja Schläpfer, MSc

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin, Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine

Tel. +41 44 255 94 51
Specialties: Thesis topic «Development of a mindfulness and relaxation app and evaluation of the effectiveness on cancer patients’ distress: a randomized controlled multicenter study»

Jürgen Barth, PD Dr. phil.

Chief assistant, Institute for Complementary and Integrative Medicine

Tel. +41 44 255 48 96
Specialties: Digital Health, Systematic reviews and meta-analyses