Varun gave a keynote at the NetHealth workshop at COMSNETS 2024

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Varun was invited to give a keynote at the NetHealth workshop located at COMSNETS 2024.

His keynote, titled “Enabling Effective Delivery of Digital Health Interventions,” discussed our lab’s ongoing work on understanding vulnerability and receptivity to digital health interventions.

Here’s the abstract from his talk:

The pervasiveness of sensor-rich mobile, wearable, and IoT devices has enabled researchers to passively sense various user traits and characteristics, which in turn have the potential to detect and predict different mental- and behavioral-health outcomes. Upon detecting or anticipating a negative outcome, the same devices can be used to deliver in-the-moment interventions and support to help users. One important factor that determines the effectiveness of digital health interventions is delivering them at the right time: (1) when a person needs support, i.e., at or before the onset of a negative outcome, or a psychological or contextual state that might lead to that outcome (state-of-vulnerability); and (2) when a person is able and willing to receive, process, and use the support provided (state-of-receptivity).

In this talk, I will present my research about when to deliver interventions by exploring and detecting both vulnerability and receptivity. I will start by discussing my work that advances the current state-of-the-art by developing reproducible methods to accurately sense and detect various mental and behavioral-health outcomes like stress and opioid use disorder. Next, I will discuss my work regarding methods to explore and detect receptivity to interventions aimed at improving physical activity and how it can guide the design, implementation, and delivery of future mHealth interventions. Finally, I will discuss some of the current projects my lab is working on to build complete solutions that span the entire life-cycle of a digital health intervention (from sensing to intervention delivery) for various mental and behavioral health outcomes by answering "what,'' "when,'' and "how'' to deliver interventions.