Health and Psychology


This is a broad, cross-cutting and transdisciplinary line of research that primarily addresses the following areas:
  • The design, implementation and evaluation of digital solutions for the prevention, promotion and improvement of people's health.
  • The development of digital solutions (tools and/or methodologies) for professionals and patients, directed towards improving the effectiveness, efficiency and safety of existing interventions.
  • The study of organizational dynamics, state of health and well-being.
Specific thesis projects offered within of this line of research include the following:

Thesis Proposals


Research Group

Digital transformation of health and care

    Digital health solutions have generated huge expectations as a way to reduce healthcare costs, since they have the potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare organizations, as well as the quality of the services provided. However, their use in day-to-day clinical practice is still limited. It is well known that the success of ICT use in healthcare is understood as the compatibility between clinical ICT systems and physicians' tasks, ICT support for information exchange, communication and collaboration in clinical practice, and interoperability and reliability. In this vein, we will be working on the following areas:

Understanding the factors that explain healthcare professionals' use of information and communication technologies (ICT), and the range of interconnection between clinical practices and digital devices and forms of information, and as well as the ways they are used in people' private lives.
Understanding the role that the structure of healthcare organizations, tasks, people policies, incentives and decision-making processes play in explaining how medical professionals overcome challenges in using ICT.
Understanding the effect on the nature of the doctor-patient relationship, the status of health informatics and also the effect hardware/software providers have on medical professionals' ICT use.

Dr Francesc Saigí-Rubió


Competencies in eHealth for health professionals

    eHealth is a relatively emerging field that brings together technology, public health, medical informatics and numerous other disciplines. Traditionally speaking, academic curricula for health-related degrees scarcely include specific training in eHealth. Therefore, health professionals need to find alternative lifelong training strategies to sustain their continuous professional development. We asked ourselves what e-health competencies health professionals need to provide optimal care.
Therefore, we aim to:
  • To create a conceptual model based on the practice of health professionals.
  • To Know what eHealth competencies health professionals should have according to the professional role in question.
  • Analyse the eHealth competencies addressed in undergraduate and post-graduate curricula worldwide.
  • To propose how these eHealth competences should be empirically and effectively assessed.

Dr Carme Carrión Ribas

Dr Marta Aymerich Martínez




Pain and virtual reality: using immersive technologies to relieve pain

    Pain is a universal phenomenon that is sometimes seen as a public health issue, but which is primarily considered to be a medical problem.

    Traditional approaches involve pharmacotherapy. However, attention has now turned to virtual reality (VR) as a non-pharmacological alternative; for example, using VR as a distraction during medical diagnoses or painful therapeutic procedures.

    Indeed, VR has proven to be effective in reducing procedural pain, even in patients such as burn victims who undergo extremely painful procedures, as well as for helping with physical therapy. Additionally, unlike pharmacology, it presents only mild and infrequent side effects.

    However, despite promising results, further research is required to validate these findings and define optimal clinical parameters for its use.

    Moreover, further studies should also be concerned with hardware and software systems that are able to provide the greatest distraction at the lowest cost and adapt to the specific needs of each patient and pathology.

    VR is rapidly evolving and thus provides new solutions that should be used to tackle the problems being faced by researchers. For this reason, we welcome any project inside of this scope of using VR for helping people with pain in different situations. For this reason, we welcome any project inside of this scope of using VR for helping people with pain in different situations. 

Dr Pierre Bourdin Kreitz


Dr Rubén Nieto Luna



eHealth Lab

Assessment of eHealth interventions

    In the last years, we have faced a revolution in the health sector by the use of mobile applications (apps), sensors, wearables and other tools that allow the empowerment of patients and health professionals regarding health management. They are key elements of health interventions but due to its novelty there is not yet enough evidence supporting their validity, efficacy, security and effectiveness.

Therefore we have the following goals
  • To define and develop frameworks, methodologies and tools to assess eHealth interventions.
  • To develop eHealth interventions to tackle any health condicions
  • To develop decision support systems to empower citizens and health professionals.
  • To wider the knowledge in implementation and scale up processes of eHealth interventions.
  • To analyze the elements that enables a higher social impact of eHealth interventions.

Dr Carme Carrion Ribas


Dr Marta Aymerich Martínez


eHealth Lab

Information and communication technologies (ICT) applied to pain and other chronic diseases

    Chronic pain and other chronic conditions have an enormous impact on our society. There is also no doubt that there are very few services offering care (based on available evidence) for people that suffer from such conditions. For this reason, we are working in this line with the following aims:

  • Facilitate access to web-based interventions for people that suffer from chronic pain. (See an example here)
  • Create apps that help to manage these health problems based on the best available evidence. (See an example here)
  • Create websites to facilitate information to society regarding specific problems. We would like to offer them as a primary source of information for those in need. (See an example here)

    Apart from those ongoing projects, we want to work in the introduction of conversational bots for facilitating the management of these problems.  We are totally open to any other innovative ideas in the field. We are also accepting proposals for ICT interventions for other chronic diseases not necessarily related to pain. In sum, we welcome any ideas you may have.

Dr Rubén Nieto Luna 


eHealth Lab

Use of eHealth and mHealth in psychooncology

    Cancer is a special disease that yields to a lot of challenges in patients and their relatives. For this reason,  Psychological support is needed to overcome some difficulties arised from treatment and diagnosis, some of the chronical. 
Due to the increasing figures of cancer incidence, and that some patients may need support in complex situations, the use of new technologies is increasing nowadays. 
For this reason, we are interested in potential research along these lines through a collaboration between Dr. Tania Estapé from the FEFOC and the UOC. We are open to hear ideas from potentially interested students.

Dr Rubén Nieto Luna


eHealth Lab
Memory and Virtual Reality: Use of immersive technologies for studying Memory
    Virtual Reality (VR) and more generally immersive technologies offer interesting modalities to study Memory.
They are particularly interesting to objectively assess memory because it allows to control the environment surrounding the participant and observe his/her behaviour in the simulation.
This is very convenient to study spatial memory, but VR can also be used to characterize episodic memory including memory for central and perceptual details, spatio-temporal contextual elements, binding, as well as memory encoding, memory perspective and memory training.
Evolution of the VR field is very fast, providing new solutions that can be used to resolve some problems researchers are facing.