NICM Projects - Introducing Open Health

NICM PhD candidate, Stephen Penman, has launched a website for a novel research project to develop and evaluate an online comprehensive lifestyle change intervention for common risk factor reduction in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

"We bring together the research best practice lessons from around the world with communications technology into a 12 week online health behaviour change program that hopefully will prove both engaging and clinically effective," said NICM PhD candidate, Mr Penman.

"We've been developing the web platform and programme framework for the last 18 months and will be ready to start usability testing ahead of a small clinical trial to pilot the programme," said Mr Penman.

Penman says it's important to generate engagement, not just from people who want to volunteer to help test the programme or to participate in the trial, but also from potential stakeholders and financial supporters.

To help fund the development of the platform, the project has receive generous seed funding and support from the Jacka Foundation and the Nancy and Vic Allen Stroke Prevention Fund.

"Stroke, like other lifestyle-related diseases is very often preventable and this program aims to address both condition management and prevention," he said.

"There's only a handful of programs in the world based on a similar whole person approach to health behaviour change – that is to change one behaviour you need to consider the whole person along with their environment and circumstances, especially the social and environmental context of behaviour."

"This project is exciting because we are attempting to deliver an experiential program entirely online - plus it has extra dimensions, including a social enterprise model to develop the project in the future.

"It also falls into the fast moving 'disruptive' health tech and online education spaces, so there's a lot for us to be across," said Mr Penman.

The project has received a lot of interest, with hundreds of people already registered on the website to be part of the beta testing, the clinical trial or to stay informed of the project development.

People interested in in registering can do so at the Open Health website. (opens in a new window)