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Community-Based Chronic Disease Prevention and Management for Aboriginal People in New South Wales, Australia: Mixed Methods Evaluation of the 1 Deadly Step Program

Community-Based Chronic Disease Prevention and Management for Aboriginal People in New South Wales, Australia: Mixed Methods Evaluation of the 1 Deadly Step Program

Jmir Mhealth and Uhealth 7(10): E14259

ISSN/ISBN: 2291-5222

PMID: 31638591

Chronic diseases account for over 70% of health gaps between Aboriginal people and the rest of the Australian population. The 1 Deadly Step program involves community-based events that use a sporting platform and cultural ambassadors to improve chronic disease prevention and management in New South Wales (NSW). This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a community-based chronic disease screening program for Aboriginal people. In 2015, the program was enhanced to include an iPad app for screening assessments, a results portal for nominated care providers, and a reporting portal for program administrators and implemented in 9 NSW community events. A mixed methods evaluation comprising survey data, analytics obtained from iPad and Web portal usage, and key informant interviews was conducted. Overall, 1046 people were screened between April 2015 and April 2016 (mean age 40.3 years, 640 (61.19%) female, 957 (91.49%) Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander). High chronic disease rates were observed (231 [22.08%] participants at high cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, 173 [16.54%] with diabetes, and 181 [17.30%] with albuminuria). A minority at high risk of CVD (99/231 [42.9%]) and with diabetes (73/173 [42.2%]) were meeting guideline-recommended management goals. Overall, 297 participants completed surveys (response rate 37.4%) with 85.1% reporting satisfaction with event organization and information gained and 6.1% experiencing problems with certain screening activities. Furthermore, 21 interviews were conducted. A strong local working group and processes that harnessed community social networks were key to implementation success. Although software enhancements facilitated screening and data management, some technical difficulties (eg, time delays in processing blood test results) impeded smooth processing of information. Only 51.43% of participants had a medical review recorded postevent with wide intersite variability (10.5%-85.6%). Factors associated with successful follow-up included clinic managers with overall program responsibility and availability of medical staff for immediate discussion of results on event day. The program was considered highly resource intensive to implement and support from a central coordinating body and integration with existing operational processes was essential. 1 Deadly Step offers an effective and acceptable strategy to engage Aboriginal communities in chronic disease screening. High rates of risk factors and management gaps were encountered, including people with no previous knowledge of these issues. Strategies to improve linkage to primary care could enhance the program's impact on reducing chronic disease burden.

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