Fifteen Challenges in Establishing a Multidisciplinary Research Program on eHealth Research in a University Setting: A Case Study

Helena Gronqvist, Erik Martin Gustaf Olsson*, Birgitta Johansson, Claes Held, Jonas Sjostrom, Annika Lindahl Norberg, Lic Psych, Emma Hoven, Robbert Sanderman, Theo van Achterberg, Louise von Essen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
295 Downloads (Pure)


Background: U-CARE is a multidisciplinary eHealth research program that involves the disciplines of caring science, clinical psychology, health economics, information systems, and medical science. It was set up from scratch in a university setting in 2010, funded by a governmental initiative. While establishing the research program, many challenges were faced. Systematic documentation of experiences from establishing new research environments is scarce.

Objective: The aim of this paper was to describe the challenges of establishing a publicly funded multidisciplinary eHealth research environment.

Methods: Researchers involved in developing the research program U-CARE identified challenges in the formal documentation and by reflecting on their experience of developing the program. The authors discussed the content and organization of challenges into themes until consensus was reached.

Results: The authors identified 15 major challenges, some general to establishing a new research environment and some specific for multidisciplinary eHealth programs. The challenges were organized into 6 themes: Organization, Communication, Implementation, Legislation, Software development, and Multidisciplinarity.

Conclusions: Several challenges were faced during the development of the program and several accomplishments were made. By sharing our experience, we hope to help other research groups embarking on a similar journey to be prepared for some of the challenges they are likely to face on their way.

Original languageEnglish
Article number173
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May-2017


  • organization and administration
  • eHealth
  • interdisciplinary studies

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