Zwei Mannen im CSS Health Lap

CSS Health Lab – pro­moting digital therapy

Together with ETH Zurich and the University of St. Gallen, at the CSS Health Lab we’re conducting re­search into new digital health tech­nologies. We’re developing inno­vative solutions that enable people to cope better with chronic illnesses.

Collaboration with ETH Zurich and University of St. Gallen

The CSS Health Lab is a research laboratory at the Centre for Digital Health Interventions, a joint initiative of ETH Zurich and the University of St. Gallen dedicated to various aspects of digital health. Ph.D. candidates from fields including psychology and computer science conduct research into digital health interventions, together with patients, service providers and patient organisations.

From digital biomarkers to chatbots

Digital health interventions such as smartphone apps aim to change people's health behaviours. They help patients to manage their condition better on a day-to-day basis and to recognise dangers to their health at an earlier stage.

The Centre for Digital Health Interventions is currently researching the following digital therapies:

The Breeze app enables smartphone-based breathing training with a playful approach. The application automatically detects various breathing phases and whether they are being done properly.

A first version is in development and an app prototype has already been put into practice. Several studies are currently being planned to gather data and improve the detection of breathing. At the same time, a gamification concept is being developed. The use of gamified elements is intended to boost motivation and increase the therapeutic outcome.

As well as in the treatment of chronic diseases, the app could potentially be used as a form of prevention, e.g. as a means of stress reduction.

The CSS Health Lab is engaged in developing digital biomarkers for people with depression. Biomarkers are measurable indicators of a given disease state. Research is being conducted into whether the voice and breathing can be used to indicate the degree of depression. A corresponding digital marker should help adapt treatment and prevention dynamically to the person’s needs over time.

The next planned step is to evaluate the potential of a voice- and breathing-based digital biomarker by conducting a joint study with the Breeze app.

Adherence is the term used to describe commitment to pursuing the therapeutic goals that have been jointly set as part of the treatment process. A lack of adherence is a major problem in digital health interventions as many are only used for a few days on average.

The aim is to understand this non-adherence and develop solutions to improve the situation. At present, the scientific literature is being analysed as part of a systematic review. Simultaneously, real data collected by several project partners is being examined to better understand the progression of non-adherence.

Successful transfer to market

Once the research projects at the CSS Health Lab have been concluded, we endeavour to transfer the results to the market. We aim to offer our clients added value through new interventions. We have succeeded in doing just that with the following project:

Peter Tinschert and Iris Shih founded the start-up Resmonics on the basis of their research at the CSS Health Lab. Resmonics technology turns common smartphones into a medical sensor that allows patients with respiratory diseases to monitor their symptoms in an easy, straightforward way and to recognise early warning signs. CSS is supporting Resmonics as it continues to develop its technology.