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New study to trial digital nutritional support for people with complex chronic conditions

17 November 2020

People living with complex chronic medical conditions will be given access to digital nutrition support as part of a new study at Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Lead researcher, Dietitian Dr Ingrid Hickman, said many people who receive care from the Hospital for chronic conditions can benefit greatly by improving their nutrition.

“Improving diet quality is the cornerstone of treatment for many conditions we see often at the Hospital, such as kidney disease, liver disease and for people who have received a kidney or liver transplant here,” Dr Hickman said. 

“More than 60 percent of patients with those conditions will also have additional metabolic complications that make their care quite complex, but the message on healthy eating remains the same.” 

The U-Decide study will investigate the impact of integrating technology and telehealth options for accessing specialist Dietitian support and nutrition information to better care for people with complex chronic conditions. 

“Sophus Nutrition has worked closely with dietitians at PA Hospital to develop a digital nutrition education program specifically to support this cohort of patients,” Sophus CEO Tara Diversi said. 

“The Sophus app is an easy to use platform that delivers regular bite-sized content including videos online to help patients manage their chronic disease.

“The online educational program will be complemented by support through targeted SMS messages, including tips on diet and exercise for six months of the study,” she said.

Dr Hickman said one of the unique aspects of the study is incorporating patient choice into how nutrition services are delivered at PA Hospital.

“Rather than a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach, patients will be offered a suite of technology-assisted options, and they can choose to engage with whichever option suits them best," Dr Hickman said. 

“We are really interested to know if offering more choice in how patients can engage with our specialist dietitians leads to improvements in diet quality and effective treatment of metabolic complications in complex chronic conditions.

"Using Sophus’ technology, we’ll be able to analyse data around engagement and consumer preference to help shape the way we support our chronic disease patients into the future."

An exercise program and face to face group sessions will complement the Sophus digital nutrition support as part of the trial.

The first patient cohort commenced the program late last month.

The U-Decide study is jointly funded by Queensland Health, the Health Practitioners Research Fund, and the PA Hospital Research Support Scheme.

Last updated 17 November 2020
Last reviewed 17 November 2020

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