Understanding and modifying health behaviours is a significant area of activity in health care innovation. The need to change behaviour effectively applies across a range of health contexts ranging from individual-led interventions for addressing wellbeing and prevention through to clinically-delivered management of chronic diseases and rehabilitation. There is considerable contemporary research interest in emerging Information Technology (IT) based methods for monitoring health behaviours and delivering health behaviour change interventions remotely, as a new form of telehealth or virtual care. Health technology offers numerous practical advantages including cost-efficiency, scalability, personalization, and automated high volume data collection and analysis. However, the success factors for design, implementation and deployment of IT-based methods in this domain have not yet been fully codified, and typically bespoke choices are made in developing the underlying IT systems.
This edition of the Global Telehealth series of papers, Global Telehealth 2019 (GT2019), was initiated by a National Symposium on the topic of “IT-based Approaches in Health Behaviours” convened at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia by Flinders Digital Health Research Centre on 5th July 2019. The meeting was held in conjunction with a series of Health Behaviours workshops and graduate students masterclass, and an Adelaide Public Lecture within the Caring Futures Institute programme, delivered by Professor Richard Rosenkranz of Kansas State University under a Flinders University International Visiting Fellowship and further supported by the South Australian Premier’s Research Industry Fund.
The series of papers from the Symposium was supplemented by contributions solicited from other delegates attending the event and by an open call for submissions with the facilitation of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) Telehealth Working Group. This step enabled the topic to be enhanced with some broader contextual offerings which are pertinent to IT-based implementation of health behaviour tools. Contributions were invited for any area of health behaviour applicability and covered a variety of health targets (e.g. physical activity, nutrition, sleep), demographic targets (e.g. ageing, youth, clinical conditions), behaviour change elements (e.g. design, reward, social motivation) and delivery mechanisms (mobile, web, online learning).
The papers selected for inclusion here are intended to establish some common themes for success factors from case study descriptions and evaluations of recent successful IT-based health behaviour projects, as well as perspectives from clinical, health technologies, and health services domains. The scope of coverage for this Global Telehealth volume therefore continues to follow the Series intention, to provide a record of both presented and contributed papers for the year, with a broad focus on the chosen theme. The book comprises only full-paper blinded peer-reviewed contributions received for the Symposium and the subsequent call for further contributions, as judged by the international expert review panel. Most papers were reviewed by three independent reviewers and approximately 70% of the total submissions received were accepted for publication.
The editors wish to acknowledge the generous support of the host institution Flinders University in supporting the lengthy process of receiving and handling papers submitted for consideration, and correspondence with the authors. We also express our gratitude to members of the international review committee for their considered comments and helpful recommendations to authors, which ensured a high level of integrity in the selection of papers and improvement of their contents.
Anthony Maeder, Stephanie Champion, Carly Moores and Rebecca Golley