Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Online help for young diabetics

An online system to help prevent young diabetics from “falling through the cracks” has been developed with the help of a Gippsland researcher from Monash Rural Health. The system is designed to encourage better interaction between diabetes educators and Type 1 diabetics aged between 18 and 35.

Avoiding the cracks: co-developer, Bill Haigh, and Monash Rural Health staff member, Cathy Haigh, test the new online tool to help young people manage their diabetes.

According to Simulation Coordinator, Blended Learning and Research at Monash Rural Health, Bill Haigh, young people in this age group are at risk of moving into “denial” about their diabetes. “Many are just coming out of a situation where parents have had control of their health and there is often a great deal of peer pressure,” Mr Haigh said. “This system is designed as a way of helping them understand their illness and recognising the pitfalls.”

Mr Haigh was approached by Deakin University to participate in the joint research project. It basically digitised an existing paper-based theory by Danish researcher Vibeka Hoffman who developed a decision-making and problem solving method called guided self-determination or GSD.

The online system helped the educator and client have a more meaningful dialogue about diabetes, they were both happy and it allowed the educator to engage with an increased number of clients. Diabetes Australia is now seeking funding to have the researchers develop a “train the trainer” online program for Type 1 diabetes.

Mr Haigh presented a poster on the system (PDF 1.6 MB) at this year's ANZAHPE (Australia and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators) conference in Perth where it was well received.

For more information, contact Mr Haigh 5122 7231 or

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