eHealth/mHealth Research Interest Group


The eHealth/mHealth Research Interest Group (EMRIG) was formed in the spring of 2013 and is currently headed by Associate Director Deborah Cornman (PhD, InCHIP) and Assistant Professor Debarchana Ghosh (PhD, Geography). This group is comprised of researchers at UConn and other institutions who are interested in electronic health/mobile health research and the use of mobile technologies, social media, web-based interventions, sensors, and other new technologies to assess and modify health behavior. Members are informed through the group’s listserv and website about relevant funding opportunities, presentations, conferences, webinars, trainings, publications, and new developments in eHealth/mHealth. The group sponsors events and activities in eHealth/mHealth, assists members in identifying potential research collaborators and technology experts, holds periodic meetings, and keeps members abreast of what is happening in the field. The primary goal of these various activities is to foster new multidisciplinary research collaborations that address important individual and public health issues in new and innovative ways. In August 2014, the EMRIG expanded to also become a CICATS Core Interest Group (CIG), which means that the eHealth/mHealth research interest group is co-sponsored by both InCHIP on the Storrs campus and the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at UConn Health.

Join Us

To join the eHealth/mHealth Research Interest Group, contact Deborah Cornman, InCHIP Associate Director and EMRIG chair, at

Upcoming Events

InCHIP Lecture Series

Leveraging Patient Portals, Mobile Devices, and Websites to Promote Medication Adherence in Diabetes.
Chandra Osborn, PhD, MPH, Vanderbilt University
Thursday, 10/6/16, 12:30-1:30 in Rm 204 at InCHIP (J. Ray Ryan building)

Innovations in Technology for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: The mHealth Impact Lab.
Sheana Bull, PhD, MPH, University of Colorado, Aurora
Thursday, 1/26/17, 12:30-1:30 in Rm 204 at InCHIP (J. Ray Ryan building)

Digital Health Technology for the Assessment and Treatment of Obesity and Related Behaviors.
J. Graham Thomas, PhD, Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Thursday, 2/23/17, 12:30-1:30 in Rm 204 at InCHIP (J. Ray Ryan building)

Past InCHIP Events/Activities

  • March 31, 2015: Digital Health Science Café at Costa del Sol: This networking event co-hosted by CICATS and InCHIP was a huge success! Researchers from UConn, UConn Health Center, and community agencies convened to present their digital health research interests and potential areas where they’re looking for collaborators. We are looking forward to seeing new research collaborations in the field of digital health in the near future.
  • April 10, 2014 – InCHIP Lecture Tim Bickmore, PhD – Associate Professor in the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University

Funding Opportunities

See below for eHealth/mHealth-related funding opportunities in the InCHIP External Funding Opportunities database. To filter the database by funding opportunities in other health domains, please visit the External Funding Opportunities main page.

eHealth/mHealth Research Resources

Interesting and Noteworthy Publications

The Impact of Automated Brief Messages Promoting Lifestyle Changes Delivered Via Mobile Devices to People with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Trials

Authors: Arambepola C., Ricci-Cabello I., Manikavasagam P., Roberts N., French DP., and Farmer A.
Journal: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Date Published: April 19, 2016
Background: Brief automated messages have the potential to support self-management in people with type 2 diabetes, but their effect compared with usual care is unclear.
Objective: To examine the effectiveness of interventions to change lifestyle behavior delivered via automated brief messaging in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Methods: A systematic literature review of controlled trials examined the impact of interventions, delivered by brief messaging, and intended to promote lifestyle change in people with type 2 diabetes, on behavioral and clinical outcomes. Bibliographic databases searched included Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and ISI WoK. Two reviewers independently screened citations. We extracted information on study risk of bias, setting (high versus low- and middle-income countries) and intervention characteristics (including use of theory and behavior-change techniques). Outcome measures included acceptability of the interventions and their impact on 1) determinants of lifestyle behavior (knowledge about diabetes, self-efficacy, attitudes towards self-management), 2) lifestyle behavior (diet, physical activity), and 3) clinical and patient-reported outcomes. Where possible, we pooled data using random-effects meta-analyses to obtain estimates of effect size of intervention compared to usual care.
Results: We identified 15 trials (15 interventions) meeting our inclusion criteria. Most interventions were delivered via short message service text messaging (n=12) and simultaneously targeted diet and physical activity (n=11). Nine interventions consisted of unidirectional messages, whereas six consisted of bidirectional messages, with patients receiving automated tailored feedback based on self-reported data. The acceptability of the interventions, and their impact on lifestyle behavior and its determinants, were examined in a low proportion of trials, with heterogeneous results being observed. In 13 trials (1155 patients) where data were available, there was a difference in glycated hemoglobin of -0.53% (95% CI -0.59% to -0.47%) between intervention groups compared to usual care. In five trials (406 patients) there was a non-significant difference in body mass index of -0.25 kg/m2 (95% CI -1.02 to 0.52). Interventions based on unidirectional messages produced similar effects in the outcomes examined, compared to those based on bidirectional messages. Interventions conducted in low- and middle-income countries showed a greater impact than those conducted in high-income countries. In general, trials were not free of bias and did not use explicit theory.
Conclusions: Automated brief messages strategies can improve health outcomes in people with type 2 diabetes. Larger, methodologically robust trials are needed to confirm these positive results.

Guidelines for Reporting of Health Interventions Using Mobile Phones: Mobile Health (mHealth) Evidence Reporting and Assessment (mERA) Checklist

Authors: Agarwal S., LeFevre A.E., Lee J., L’Engle K., Mehl G., Sinha C., and Labrique A. for the WHO mHealth Technical Evidence Review Group
Journal: BMJ
Date Published: March 17, 2016
To improve the completeness of reporting of mobile health (mHealth) interventions, the World Health Organization (WHO) mHealth Technical Evidence Review Group developed the mHealth evidence reporting and assessment (mERA) checklist. The development process for mERA consisted of convening an expert group to recommend an appropriate approach, convening a global expert review panel for checklist development, and pilot testing the checklist. The guiding principle for the development of these criteria was to identify a minimum set of information needed to define what the mHealth intervention is (content), where it is being implemented (context), and how it was implemented (technical features), to support replication of the intervention. This paper presents the resulting 16 item checklist and a detailed explanation and elaboration for each item, with illustrative reporting examples. Through widespread adoption, we expect that the use of these guidelines will standardize the quality of mHealth evidence reporting, and indirectly improve the quality of mHealth evidence.

Increasing physical activity through mobile device interventions: A systematic review

Authors: Muntaner A., Vidal-Conti J., and Palou P.
Journal: Health Informatics Journal
Date Published: February 3, 2015
Physical inactivity is a health problem that affects people worldwide and has been identified as the fourth largest risk factor for overall mortality (contributing to 6% of deaths globally). Many researchers have tried to increase physical activity levels through traditional methods without much success. Thus, many researchers are turning to mobile technology as an emerging method for changing health behaviours. This systematic review sought to summarise and update the existing scientific literature on increasing physical activity through mobile device interventions, taking into account the methodological quality of the studies. The articles were identified by searching the PubMed, SCOPUS and SPORTDiscus databases for studies published between January 2003 and December 2013. Studies investigating efforts to increase physical activity through mobile phone or even personal digital assistant interventions were included. The search results allowed the inclusion of 11 studies that gave rise to 12 publications. Six of the articles included in this review reported significant increases in physical activity levels. The number of studies using mobile devices for interventions has increased exponentially in the last few years, but future investigations with better methodological quality are needed to draw stronger conclusions regarding how to increase physical activity through mobile device interventions.