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Mobile digital communication and health management

A mHealth pilot program at the ACT GP Super Clinic

Younger man assisting older man to use an ipad

Mobile Health Report

View and download the full report Mobile Health: Empowering people with type 2 diabetes using digital tools.

A summary report is also available for download.

Project members Sora Park and Sally Burford spoke to WIN News recently about the findings from the pilot program. Watch the interview here. Read more about the pilot program's findings on UC's monitor website. An article on the program appeared in the Australian Journal of Pharmacy.

Project Background

The Mobile digital communication and health management: A mHealth pilot program at the ACT GP Super Clinic will investigate the use of mobile tablet devices and mobile applications in primary healthcare to enhance service delivery. The pilot program will identify benefits of and barriers to introducing mhealth at the ACT GP Super Clinic and suggest models of mHealth for wider adaption.

The research explores how type 2 diabetes patients at the Ochre Health Medical Centre, a large integrated-care medical centre, can manage their diabetes through an iPad equipped with health and well-being applications (apps). A multidisciplinary team of researchers have come together to investigate the possibility of adopting mobile technologies in primary care settings. The mHealth pilot program involves not only the patients but also doctors, nurses and support staff.

Type 2 diabetes patients were given iPads at the beginning of the project to use and report back via online surveys to the team in six to ten weeks intervals throughout the study. Observations in training sessions as well as additional patient interviews will be conducted as necessary. In addition to participant data collection, the research team will conduct interviews with doctors, nurses and dieticians at the Clinic. From the results collected from patients and practitioners, a national level GP survey will be conducted.

Participants were not required to know how to use an iPad to be eligible for the research project. During the patient information sessions at the beginning of the project all participants were provided with the necessary training required for their participation. Participants could choose between individual or group training sessions, with 36 individual sessions and 8 group sessions being held by October 2014. On demand training throughout the project has also been provided for all participants' to access. As well as training sessions each participant has been provided with an information booklet demonstrating how to download and install an application, connect to Wi-Fi and how to use mobile apps. Additional resources have also been provided allowing participants to further develop their digital skills on their iPads. Providing this high level of participant training makes this project unique.

The results of this research project will help to direct emerging possibilities that new digital and interactive technologies can offer to people self-managing chronic conditions.


  • Understand the state of mHealth from both the health practitioner and patient perspective
  • Identify and review features of mobile applications that can be used to effectively deliver healthcare services
  • Suggest ways to improve digital engagement between health practitioners and patients through mHealth models of service
  • Extend the results of the pilot program to a wider population of type 2 diabetes patients
  • Explore ways to better engage patients in using digital devices and tools for their health management

Team Members

Dr Sora Park (Project Leader) is an Associate Professor in Communication at the News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra.

Dr Sally Burford is an Associate Professor in Knowledge and Information Studies at the the News & Media Research Centre, University of Canberra.

Dr Leif Hanlen is the Technology and eHealth Business Team Director at the National Information Communication Technology Australia (NICTA).

Dr Paul Dugdale is an Associate Professor of Public Health at the Australian National University's (ANU) Medical school, Director of the ANU Centre for Health Stewardship and Director of Chronic Disease Management for ACT Health.

Dr Chris Nolan is the Director of the ACT Diabetes Services based at Canberra Hospital, and a Professor of Endocrinology at the ANU Medical School.

Dr Paresh Dawda is a General Practitioner, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI) and ACT Medical Director at Ochre Health and Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Canberra.

John Burns is the Chief Executive Officer at Ochre Health and an Adjunct Professor of the University of Canberra.

Contact Information

For further information contact: Associate Professor Sora Park

Office: +61 (0)2 6201 5423

Research Associate Morris Carpenter


The mobile digital communication and health management: a mHealth pilot program at the ACT GP Super Clinic research program has been funded under an ACT Strategic Opportunities Funding grant from the Australian Capital Territory Government.