What is Open Health?
Open Health is an innovative social enterprise to develop, evaluate and launch a world-first comprehensive lifestyle change platform into our health system, and into the social context of everyday life.
It’s ground-breaking because we’re combining the psychology and clinical application of health behaviour change with social learning and communication technology in ways that have not been attempted before.
In particular, we are introducing machine learning to the world of psychological frameworks and behaviour change techniques, to create a whole new level of personalisation (and hopefully results) for you, and to spark a new generation of research into the ‘delivery layer’ of health behaviour science.
It’s ‘open’ because it will be widely accessible and inclusive, cost effective and scalable. It will be available on your mobile, tablet or laptop, however you like to connect, with email, sms and notifications just the way you choose, offering a complete health and wellbeing program that wraps itself around your needs and desires, while you remain private and anonymous in a supportive facilitated online peer group setting.
Open Health is for everyone; for mums and dads, twenty and thirty-somethings, doctors and their patients, and for organisations as a workplace health and wellbeing solution.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Australia, like other western countries, is in the midst of an epidemic of largely preventable chronic and lifestyle-related conditions. Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and mental health concerns are on the increase, and with our ageing population, so too is dementia.
It’s increasingly common for us to take medication to lower blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar, or to stabilise our mood, without addressing the underlying causes of those conditions. And to accept being overweight, inactive, under-slept, stressed-out and generally below par as ‘normal’.
Unfortunately, our health system is poorly equipped to support people who want to improve their health, despite repeated high level reports calling for greater prevention, early intervention and self-management of healthcare. Instead we see inadequate investment in prevention and a system swamped by symptom resolution and disease management.
It’s clear that we need to personally take charge of our own health, and the health of our families now.
Register your interest and we’ll keep you in the loop.
A novel solution
Imagine if there was a comprehensive online program designed to tackle all these problems, and if it was just as easy for your doctor or health practitioner to prescribe it for you as it was for you to enrol in it for yourself. Or if your workplace made it available to you. That is what we are building.
The ‘program’ itself has been derived from an analysis of the most effective models and programs around the world in health and wellbeing, chronic disease management, social learning, behavioural medicine and of course, social networks. While the high tech ‘platform’ is being designed to be able to test everything in a series of pilots and clinical trials so that we know exactly what works and how.
In startup lingo, it’s disruptive health tech. Disruptive means something that changes the status quo.
In medical terminology, it’s an evidence-based tailored online comprehensive lifestyle change program with peer support and personalised feedback. It’s also a chronic disease self-management (CDSM) program.
In personal terms, it’s an opportunity for a health and wellbeing transformation!
“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
Thomas A Edison
What is lifestyle change?
Empowerment & self-efficacy
Lifestyle change starts with self-empowerment to take charge of our health and enhancing self-efficacy to achieve our goals.
The more time spent sitting, the shorter time we live. Movement is the key. Try walking, swimming, dancing, gardening, and perhaps even ‘exercise’.
Diet & nutrition
We often think we have a 'good diet’, but can easily fall short of the nutritional requirements for physical, mental and emotional health.
Excesses and addictions
Whether it's sugar, salt, fried foods, refined carbs, too much alcohol too often or smoking, it's easy to get out of balance.
Stress is a normal part of life but in our society, it’s well off the scale, resulting in low-level inflammation and reduced immune response.
Environment & exposures
Ensuring we get enough sunlight is as important as reducing exposure to toxins found in pesticides, food packaging and pollution.
Sleep debt and quality
Sleep debt is rife in our ‘always on’ society and linked to a range of health problems. Sleep disorders are also common.
Psychological approaches include five major frameworks plus positive psychology, goal setting, mentoring, reinforcement, happiness and self-esteem.
Resilience comes from effective coping skills and techniques to manage emotional strain, frustration, pain, fatigue or isolation.
Connectedness & community
Humans thrive on social and community engagement, love and intimacy. Altruism (being of service) is also health enhancing.
Meaning & purpose
Connection with nature, culture and identity, and a sense of meaning and purpose are all important to health and well-being.
Virtual peer group support
Everyone's needs and goals are different, but you will feel supported and empowered in a private, moderated virtual peer group to achieve lasting change.
Be part of something important. For yourself, your family, friends, workmates and the community. We need your support to make this happen and to start changing lives.
Not sure how you can help? There are plenty of ways to get involved, like volunteering, beta-testing the Open Health platform when it’s ready and helping spread the word. Register your interest and we’ll keep you in the loop.
With sufficient funding, we expect to launch Open Health to the world in 2025. Read more of the story here.
If you’ve got something more to say, click here for a contact form.
We look forward to hearing from you!