The major aim is to develop, evaluate, and implement disease-generic cognitive-behavioral interventions through the internet in order to optimize tailored health care for patients with chronic somatic conditions.
Having a chronic somatic condition can result in a variety of impairments in patients’ daily lives, including not only physical complaints such as pain, itch, and fatigue, but also problems of negative mood and impairments in social relationships. This is especially true for patients with a psychological risk profile (e.g., patients with elevated levels of distress), which is an estimated 30-40% of patients. Both face-to-face and e-Health cognitive-behavioral treatments have shown to be effective in helping patients cope with these impairments.
This research program encompasses a series of applied studies developing and testing the (cost-)effectiveness of online disease-generic cognitive-behavioral interventions for chronic somatic conditions, termed e-Coach. This intervention enables patients to follow treatment online, potentially saving time and costs for both patients and caregivers. The E-coach intervention is guided by an e-Coach therapist, who gives individualized feedback on treatment assignments.
The goal of the intervention is to reduce the impact of the chronic somatic disease on the patients’ daily life. Patients’ treatment goals can be diverse; while the focus for one patient may be primarily on decreasing high levels of fatigue by finding a better balance of rest and activities, another patient may want to work on his/her mood problems by working on maladaptive negative cognitions, for example.
The e-Coach consists of tailored treatment modules corresponding with the specific risk profiles of individual patients. Themes of these modules include physical, psychological, and social adjustment, such as pain, fatigue, mood problems, and social relationships. Each treatment module includes multiple assignments and reading texts, which the e-Coach therapist can tailor to the individual patient to suit individual needs.