Background: Self-management and clinical assessment and monitoring of modifiable lifestyle risk factors are cornerstones of non-communicable disease management. Despite considerable investment in public health awareness campaigns that encourage lifestyle modification, there is considerable inertia around both the individual and health service delivery level. Electronic capturing, monitoring and reporting of lifestyle data may assist patients and their healthcare providers to both better understand and help overcome the challenges and barriers an individual faces to positive lifestyle modification, such as continuity of care.
There are limited data re. telehealth facilitation of lifestyle risk factor management in Indigenous Australians with type 2 diabetes. Therefore, as a first step, we aim to develop and administer a suite of electronic surveys for use in a primary care setting in order to describe participant engagement with the lifestyle capture process and the lifestyle risk factor profile of TEAMSnet study participants in remote Australia.
Methods/Design: Using an observational design, lifestyle surveys will be administered by trained staff to 300 Indigenous Australians with type 2 diabetes recruited from a remote Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisation in the Northern Territory. Diabetes status will be based on clinical records. A suite of five electronic surveys will be based on guidelines in the Standard Treatment Manual [6th edition] of the Central Australian Rural Practitioner’s Association and will include data capture and reporting for smoking history, nutrition/diet quality, alcohol intake, physical activity level and emotional well-being/depression (SNAPE). The primary outcomes are an evaluation of the proportion of study participants who actively engage with the process of structured lifestyle capture and a description of the risk factor profile of the study population.
Conclusion: Structured and detailed lifestyle risk factor assessment and electronic monitoring could facilitate self-management and evidence-based clinical management of diabetes in Indigenous Australians and may serve as a model for lifestyle risk factor management in the primary care setting.
Keywords: Telehealth, type 2 diabetes, lifestyle risk factor, smoking, nutrition, diet, alcohol, physical activity, emotional wellbeing, depression.