The University of Newcastle, Australia

Innovating health care in regional Australia

Monday, 25 June 2018

An online support tool being developed by University of Newcastle PhD student, Brian Hill, has won the Regional Australia Institute’s 2018 Lightbulb Moments competition, which is designed to help get the best regional community projects off the ground.

The CleanM8 platform will provide a suite of digital tools to assist those recovering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs (AOD), as well as their clinicians and support carers.

“CleanM8 is being designed to provide support from the first ‘motivated moment’ when a user decides to take a step towards change through to post-recovery, building new habits and supports to help reduce the risk of relapse,” Mr Hill said.

As an occupational therapist and health-tech innovator, Mr Hill said the idea for CleanM8 came from discussions with local doctors and rehabilitation services, along with his own personal experience of seeing close friends lose loved ones to depression and alcoholism.

“I could see there was a need, particularly in remote and rural Australia, where it is difficult to access AOD treatment and recovery services. The added challenge for those areas is the lack of anonymity, where most people in the community know each other well – that’s a sweet spot for user-centred digital health tools,” he said.

PhD student and founder of Laughing Mind, Brian Hill.

The CleanM8 team will work with regional stakeholders to develop digital interventions based on neuroscience and behavioural support methods proven to work in other clinical and community settings.

“We’re building tools that support stakeholders across the lifecycle of addiction, from pre-clinical low intensity support, through clinical or rehab centre engagement and beyond, to ensure resilience skills learnt minimise the risk of relapse,” Mr Hill explained.

Supported by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), this year’s Lightbulb Moments competition received more than 160 entries from across the country.

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