We had a chance to interview professor Peter Hudson and have a brief talk about the intervention study he is leading called “Improving the wellbeing of people with advanced cancer and their family carers: Research protocol for an effectiveness-implementation trial of a dyadic digital health intervention (FOCUSau)” . The project will run until 2026 and is financed by a National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) grant.

1. What is the objective of your prepared intervention study?

The aim of the study is to determine the effectiveness and sustainability of a digital health intervention (FOCUSau) aimed at improving the wellbeing of patients with advanced cancer and their primary family carer.

The current project will determine the following aspects:

1. Changes in cancer patients and their primary family carers’ emotional wellbeing and self-efficacy (primary outcomes), QoL, appraisal of illness, communication and coping (secondary outcomes), through a RCT comparing FOCUSau with usual care (control group).

2. The effect of FOCUSau on the type and costs of health services use, through comparative analysis of data sets showing use by participants in the intervention group and the control group.

3. The potential for sustainability of FOCUSau as a service, using integrated implementation science and digital health evaluation methods to gauge acceptability, feasibility and scalability.

2. Could you briefly explain the main connection between Diadic iFOCUS and your current study?

Professor Cohen and Professor Hudson (Melbourne, Australia) led the work leading up to the Diadic EU grant application and from the outset had hoped that an opportunity might arise to conduct a similar study in Australia.

3. What are similarities and what are differences from scientific and practical perspectives?

We will only test the web-based version of Focus (iFOCUS) not the in-person version (FOCUS+) and our design is a Pragmatic Phase III hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial hence we will concurrently test the effectiveness of the intervention as well as its potential sustainability.

4. Could you please state the main challenges and your expectations from the study?

We are in the process of adapting iFOCUS to for the Australian context to create FOCUSau for subsequent testing in the trial. The main challenges thus far have mostly been administrative for example obtaining contractual agreements and also facilitation of transferring & housing of the FOCUS software within Australia.

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