This month we spend five minutes with Dr Andrew Campbell. Andrew is the Chair, Cyberpsychology Research Group, Senior Lecturer, and Inaugural Australasian Editor for Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking
Please tell us a little bit about yourself
For most of my life I’ve been fascinated with two things – computers and people. It took me a while to figure out my vocation, having first started my career as a high school teacher, only to later change course and complete psychology qualifications. It wasn’t until my PhD that I realised that the internet was going to affect peoples behaviour profoundly and, obviously, influence patient care. Getting a foot-hold in an area of research in the late 1990s that was very much in its infancy: Cyberpsychology, was something I wanted to be a part of and now can truly see its impact in the current age of Digital Health uptake.
How do you define digital health?
I think it is still very hard to provide a clear definition of digital health. The ‘digital’ is constantly evolving. Technology gets faster and broader in its application every year. At the same time, consumer and professional understanding is still not uniform across stakeholders who may want, or need, digital health solutions. With these two variables constantly changing – I can say that digital health is a rapidly evolving area of personal and health system innovation. The best definition I could give at this time, would be that digital health is a multidisciplinary field, focused on improving and refining health systems and individual healthcare solutions. It does this in order to provide best-practice medical and health information that aids in optimising the decision making process for optimal care and promotion of individual health and wellness.
What do you think will enable digital health projects and innovations to succeed?
Firstly, blue sky thinking. Secondly, long-term collaborations across the tech industry, medical and health professions and, of course, leaders in digital health research.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing digital health at the moment?
If I was asked this question in January 2020, I would have said substantial and sustained investment by all stakeholders. Since we have now experienced almost 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe investment in digital health will increase. The challenge now is prioritising the specific fields of focus for digital health between systems of information (decision making) and best-practice models, as well as empowering consumers to engage more in digital health uptake (akin to say the 1980s when ATM’s emerged across the world for personal banking).
Do you have any interesting resources or helpful networks people should know about?
The focus of my research work is on how the ‘people’ side (individual behaviour specifically) of digital health is accounted for when new technology rolls out. Whether it be smartphones, apps, mobile computing, video games, virtual reality or artificial intelligence – we need to factor how humans react, adopt, reject or habituate (incorporate) this technology into their lives. This is the focus of Cyberpsychology and, as such, my go to journal is Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, now in its 25th year of publication. If you are interested in talking to international experts who study the field, I recommend the British Psychological Societies Cyberpsychology section, currently the world leading professional group for both research and practice in the field DHIN member, Professor Neil Coulson (inaugural key note speaker for eHealth@Sydney2019) is also a wealth of knowledge.
Connect with Andrew:
A very big thank you to Andrew for being our August member feature!