Internet intervention research has been well established in the literature over the past two decades. The hundreds, if not thousands, of high quality research trials that have been conducted and published have convincingly demonstrated feasibility, efficacy and even effectiveness. The next decade will be a critical one for the field with numerous obstacles, barriers, disputes and debates to overcome. This talk will highlight many of the known challenges and controversies as well as key areas that will need to be part of future research. Furthermore, each of these areas overlap, resulting in additional topics of needed focus. Challenges include funding, recruitment, and conflict of interests to manage; controversies include best practices for iterative development, the relationship between usage and outcome, and public concerns of technology replacing jobs; issues that intersect with both challenges and controversies include how best to address the digital divide, the use of social networking, and how to determine the best control and comparison groups in ehealth research; future issues include a need to focus on deconstruction and dissemination trials, internationalization of interventions, and a greater emphasis on cost effectiveness; issues that traverse challenges and the future include a need for greater scientific underpinnings to interventions, improving the taxonomy and overall definitions used to define applications, and how best to maintain and sustain programs; controversies/future issues include the problem of so many programs continuing to be developed and made available with little to no scientific validity; and finally, issues that cross challenges, controversies and the future include the ongoing discussions of support, meta-analyses, and stepped care. Although not comprehensive, this list will provide a useful start for discussion and help guide research for the coming years.
The 8th Scientific Meeting of the International Society for Research on Internet Interventions (PN.02), Seattle, USA, 7-9 April 2016.