Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 800872-M-6
Digital Health Communication
Course info
Course module800872-M-6
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryMA (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences; TSH: Commun. and Inform. Sciences; TSH: Department Communication and Cognition;
Is part of
M Culture Studies
M Communication and Information Sciences
dr. N. Bol
Other course modules lecturer
Lecturer L.N. van der Laan
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2020
Starting block
Course mode
RemarksCaution: this information is subject to change
Registration openfrom 20/01/2021 up to and including 20/08/2021
After successfully completing the course, the student is able to
  • Explain the main theories in the field of digital health communication and application design and employ these in the development of a novel digital health application;
  • Understand the main principles in (health) technology adoption and apply these to the development of a digital health communication application;
  • Critically evaluate and synthesize recent literature on the effectiveness of digital health communication and formulate evidence-based design recommendations;
  • Be able to communicate design ideas effectively by creating prototypes of digital health applications;
  • Describe the main methods used in evaluation (adherence and effectiveness of digital health applications) and conceive an evaluation study.
Digital technologies are constantly evolving and finding new applications in health communication, for instance for stimulating preventive behaviors (e.g., healthy eating, physical activity) or supporting disease-related contexts (e.g., self-management, doctor-patient communication). Health technology can be implemented in a wide range of hardware and software solutions, including (but not limited to) websites, smartphone applications (mHealth), wearable devices and sensors, virtual reality, and robotics. Novel technologies enable personalization, interaction and an immediacy of feedback that was difficult or impossible with traditional forms of health communication. In the past decade, there has been a steep increase in the number of digital health applications. Digital technologies should not only be effective in targeting the specific outcome that it was designed for (e.g., behavior change, knowledge improvement), but should also be usable and engaging in order to be adopted by the intended target group.
In this course, you will learn about the main theories, technologies, and methods that are relevant for design, adoption, and effects of (persuasive) digital health communication. Topics that will be discussed include characteristics of users, affordances and design of technology, and the effects of digital technologies on (health) outcomes. Topics will be illustrated with recent examples of implementations of health communication technology, such as games, mobile health apps, and virtual agents. In the assignments of this course, you will apply the knowledge to design and evaluate a theory- and evidence-based digital health application.

The course consists of two sessions per week, of which one is focused on theory (T-lectures) and one is focused on development (D-lectures). Attendance to the D-lectures and guest lectures is obligatory. The course is taught in English. Examination takes place based on an individual assignment (20%), a group assignment (40%) and a written exam (40%). In the individual assignment, an existing digital health application will be analyzed using relevant theoretical models. In the group project, a novel implementation (prototype) of digital health application for a specific problem in the health domain will be developed.
Connection to the labor market
The knowledge acquired during this course is transferable to the labor market. After this course, students will be equipped with the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge to analyze existing digital health applications, to create convincing prototypes of novel digital health applications, and to systematically evaluate the effectiveness in terms of adoption and adherence and the (un)intended effects of digital health communication.

Please note that the university regulations in response to the Corona crisis may lead to changes in the course organization

Required prerequisites

Pre-master students must have completed the following courses before they can participate in this course.


Course code Fall

Course code Spring

Statistics for Premasters



Methodology for Premasters



Academic English for PM CIS  



Contact person L.N. van der Laan
Timetable information
Digital Health Communication
Required materials
A few chapters of the book below will be used. The book is available unlimited (free) as Ebook via the library.
Title:EHealth research, theory and development : a multidisciplinary approach
Author:Van Gemert-Pijnen, Kelders, Kip, and Sanderman
Publisher:Taylor & Francis group
Several recent journal papers are part of the mandatory literature. These papers will be announced via Canvas.
Recommended materials
Written exam

Final Result

Paper individual assignment

Paper group assignment

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