Western Sydney University, Campbelltown students are setting out to prove smartphones are useful for more than just Twitter and Instagram.
The medical students are looking to interview type 2 diabetics for a study on the use of mobile phone apps to help manage the disease.
Researcher Bronte Jefferey said apps could help those with diabetes to track their diet, sugar levels and fitness.
“Diabetes is one of the biggest health issues affecting Australians at the moment,” she said.
“We know that self-management is the best way to keep the long term affects of diabetes at bay and mobile phones might be a good way to do that.”
The study primarily focuses on people in rural or semi-rural areas, including Picton, Cobbity, Menangle, Douglas Park and The Oaks.
Miss Jefferey said those wanting to take part in the study had to live in a rural or semi-rural area, have type 2 diabetes and a smart phone.
“It doesn’t matter if you use apps or not but a lot of the people we have spoken to have either used apps to keep on top of their diet and fitness or to track their sugar level but there isn’t one that covers everything,” she said.
“There is definitely a role that apps can play in helping people manage diabetes, but there doesn’t seem to be an app that keeps everything unified.”
Diabetes Australia data shows more than 11,700 residents living in the Campbelltown local government area have diabetes. Camden has more than 3,000 people living with disease and Wollondilly has more than 2,000.
Miss Jefferey said the use of apps may help to empower people to stay on top of their diabetes.
“Apps are easy to use and for people living in rural or semi-rural areas it can be difficult to get to a doctor so self-management is key,” she said.
“The information from this study will help us to find out what people would like to see in app and our findings will be published.”
Macarthur is not immune from the diabetes “epidemic” sweeping across the world.
Campbelltown Hospital’s leading specialist in the disease, Dr David Simmons, told the Advertiser in May nearly a quarter of people who presented to Campbelltown Hospital had diabetes.
The 20-30 phone interviews are confidential.
For more information call 6620 7570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.