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1.  Development of an Online Well-Being Intervention for Young People: An Evaluation Protocol 
JMIR Research Protocols  2015;4(2):e48.
Research has shown that improving well-being using positive mental health interventions can be useful for predicting and preventing mental illness. Implementing online interventions may be an effective way to reach young people, given their familiarity with technology.
This study will assess the effectiveness of a website called the “Online Wellbeing Centre (OWC),” designed for the support and improvement of mental health and well-being in young Australians aged between 16 and 25 years. As the active component of the study, the OWC will introduce a self-guided app recommendation service called “The Toolbox: The best apps for your brain and body” developed by The Toolbox is a responsive website that serves as a personalized, ongoing recommendation service for technology-based tools and apps to improve well-being. It allows users to personalize their experience according to their individual needs.
This study will be a two-arm, randomized controlled trial following a wait-list control design. The primary outcome will be changes in psychological well-being measured by the Mental Health Continuum Short Form. The secondary outcomes will be drawn from a subsample of participants and will include depression scores measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and quality of life measured by the Assessment of Quality of Life-four dimensions (AQOL-4D) index. Cost-effectiveness analysis will be conducted based on a primary outcome of cost per unique visit to the OWC. Utility-based outcomes will also be incorporated into the analysis allowing a secondary outcome to be cost per quality-adjusted life year gained (based on the AQOL-4D values). Resource use associated with both the intervention and control groups will be collected using a customized questionnaire. Online- and community-based recruitment strategies will be implemented, and the effectiveness of each approach will be analyzed. Participants will be recruited from the general Australian population and randomized online. The trial will last for 4 weeks.
Small but clinically significant increases in well-being symptoms are expected to be detected in the intervention group compared with the control group.
If this intervention proves to be effective, it will have an impact on the future design and implementation of online-based well-being interventions as a valid and cost-effective way to support mental health clinical treatment. Findings regarding recruitment effectiveness will also contribute to developing better ways to engage this population in research.
This study is registered in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12614000710628.
PMCID: PMC4432225  PMID: 25929201
well-being; mental health; young people; online intervention; apps; engagement
2.  An eHealth Intervention for Patients in Rural Areas: Preliminary Findings From a Pilot Feasibility Study 
JMIR Research Protocols  2014;3(2):e27.
eHealth facilitation of chronic disease management has potential to increase engagement and effectiveness and extend access to care in rural areas.
The objective of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility and acceptability of an eHealth system for the management of chronic conditions in a rural setting.
We developed an online management program which incorporated content from the Flinders Chronic Condition Management Program (Flinders Program) and used an existing software platform (goACT), which is accessible by patients and health care workers using either Web-enabled mobile phone or Internet, enabling communication between patients and clinicians. We analyzed the impact of this eHealth system using qualitative and simple quantitative methods.
The eHealth system was piloted with 8 recently hospitalized patients from rural areas, average age 63 (SD 9) years, each with an average of 5 chronic conditions and high level of psychological distress with an average K10 score of 32.20 (SD 5.81). Study participants interacted with the eHealth system. The average number of logins to the eHealth system by the study participants was 26.4 (SD 23.5) over 29 weeks. The login activity was higher early in the week.
The pilot demonstrated the feasibility of implementing and delivering a chronic disease management program using a Web-based patient-clinician application. A qualitative analysis revealed burden of illness and low levels of information technology literacy as barriers to patient engagement.
PMCID: PMC4090372  PMID: 24927511
eHealth; chronic disease; rural health
3.  Northern Territory Heart Failure Initiative–Clinical Audit (NTHFI–CA)–a prospective database on the quality of care and outcomes for acute decompensated heart failure admission in the Northern Territory: study design and rationale 
BMJ Open  2014;4(1):e004137.
Congestive heart failure is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in Australia. Accurate data for the Northern Territory and Indigenous Australians are not presently available. The economic burden of this chronic cardiovascular disease is felt by all funding bodies and it still remains unclear what impact current measures have on preventing the ongoing disease burden and how much of this filters down to more remote areas. Clear differentials also exist in rural areas including a larger Indigenous community, greater disease burden, differing aetiologies for heart failure as well as service and infrastructure discrepancies. It is becoming increasingly clear that urban solutions will not affect regional outcomes. To understand regional issues relevant to heart failure management, an understanding of the key performance indicators in that setting is critical.
Methods and analysis
The Northern Territory Heart Failure Initiative—Clinical Audit (NTHFI-CA) is a prospective registry of acute heart failure admissions over a 12-month period across the two main Northern Territory tertiary hospitals. The study collects information across six domains and five dimensions of healthcare. The study aims to set in place an evidenced and reproducible audit system for heart failure and inform the developing heart failure disease management programme. The findings, is believed, will assist the development of solutions to narrow the outcomes divide between remote and urban Australia and between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians, in case they exist. A combination of descriptive statistics and mixed effects modelling will be used to analyse the data.
Ethics and dissemination
This study has been approved by respective ethics committees of both the admitting institutions. All participants will be provided a written informed consent which will be completed prior to enrolment in the study. The study results will be disseminated through local and international health conferences and peer reviewed manuscripts.
PMCID: PMC3913022  PMID: 24477314
Clinical audit < Health Services Administration & Management; Epidemiology
4.  Two-group randomised, parallel trial of cognitive and exposure therapies for problem gambling: a research protocol 
BMJ Open  2013;3(6):e003244.
Problem gambling is a serious public health concern at an international level where population prevalence rates average 2% or more and occurs more frequently in younger populations. The most empirically established treatments until now are combinations of cognitive and behavioural techniques labelled cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). However, there is a paucity of high quality evidence for the comparative efficacy of core CBT interventions in treating problem gamblers. This study aims to isolate and compare cognitive and behavioural (exposure-based) techniques to determine their relative efficacy.
A sample of 130 treatment-seeking problem gamblers will be allocated to either cognitive or exposure therapy in a two-group randomised, parallel design. Repeated measures will be conducted at baseline, mid and end of treatment (12 sessions intervention period), and at 3, 6 and 12 months (maintenance effects). The primary outcome measure is improvement in problem gambling severity symptoms using the Victorian Gambling Screen (VGS) harm to self-subscale. VGS measures gambling severity on an extensive continuum, thereby enhancing sensitivity to change within and between individuals over time.
This article describes the research methods, treatments and outcome measures used to evaluate gambling behaviours, problems caused by gambling and mechanisms of change. This study will be the first randomised, parallel trial to compare cognitive and exposure therapies in this population.
Ethics and dissemination
The study was approved by the Southern Adelaide Health Service/Flinders University Human Research Ethics Committee. Study findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN 12610000828022.
PMCID: PMC3696861  PMID: 23811176
Public Health
5.  Working effectively with patients with comorbid mental illness and substance abuse: a case study using a structured motivational behavioural approach 
BMJ Case Reports  2009;2009:bcr08.2008.0674.
This case describes the use of innovative person-centred motivational behaviour change tools to enhance chronic condition self-management with a person with chronic paranoid schizophrenia, significant drug abuse and multiple psychosocial issues. In standard care, the complexity of this patient’s presentation, their cognitive impairment level and history of violence would likely exclude them from many therapies and treatment programs as unsuitable or in the “too hard” basket. In fact, using a motivational and highly person-centred approach proved to be extremely necessary and rewarding for the person and their mental health worker. This approach provided a clear structure, actual tools and a clear rationale for what many would argue, yet is often ill-defined, was “just good clinical practice”. However, it also facilitated the development of “something special” in the relationship between the person and their worker that is central to person-centred care. Through a semistructured, motivational, sequential process that encouraged gradual disclosure and greater self-awareness by the client and active listening by the worker, greater collaboration and shared responsibility was enhanced.
PMCID: PMC3027853  PMID: 21686687
6.  Does self-management for return to work increase the effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation for chronic compensated musculoskeletal disorders? - Protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Musculoskeletal disorders are common and costly disorders to workers compensation and motor accident insurance systems and are a leading contributor to the burden of ill-health. In Australia, vocational rehabilitation is provided to workers to assist them to stay in, or return to work. Self-management training may be an innovative addition to improve health and employment outcomes from vocational rehabilitation.
The research plan contains mixed methodology consisting of a single blind randomised controlled trial, an economic evaluation and qualitative research. Participants (n = 366) are volunteers with compensated musculoskeletal disorders of 3 months to 3 years in duration who were working at the time of the injury/onset of the chronic disorder. The trial tests the effectiveness of usual vocational rehabilitation plus the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) to which two additional and newly-developed modules have been added, against vocational rehabilitation alone (control) The modules added to the CDSMP focus on how to navigate through compensation systems and manage the return to work process, and aim to be relevant to those in a vocational rehabilitation setting.
The primary outcome of this study is readiness for return to work which will be evaluated using the Readiness for Return-to-Work scale. Secondary outcomes include return to work status, health efficacy (heiQ™ questionnaire) and general health status (SF-12v2® Health Survey). Measures will be taken at baseline, immediately post-intervention and at 6- and 12- months post-intervention by an independent assessor. An economic evaluation will compare the costs and outcomes between the intervention and control groups in terms of cost-effectiveness and a partial cost-benefit or cost analysis. The impact of the intervention will also be evaluated qualitatively, in terms of its acceptability to stakeholders.
This article describes the protocol for a single blind randomised controlled trial with a one year follow-up. The results will provide evidence for the addition or not of self-management training within vocational rehabilitation for chronic compensated musculoskeletal disorders.
Trial Registration
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12609000843257
PMCID: PMC2893451  PMID: 20534168
7.  Health reform through coordinated care: SA HealthPlus 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2005;330(7492):662-665.
How can care for chronic illness best be coordinated? An Australian study sought to move towards collaborative and patient centred planned care
PMCID: PMC554920  PMID: 15775001

Results 1-8 (8)