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Keywords:

  • Aboriginal;
  • diabetes;
  • health promotion;
  • information technology;
  • touch-screen

Objective:  A proof of concept evaluation of the use of touch-screen technology to address specific health issues in Indigenous settings and exploration of potential relevance to Indigenous mental health.

Methods:  Quantitative and qualitative approaches were utilised to evaluate two touchscreen units with sound located in Indigenous settings (one clinical and the other a Centrelink office) with content on two topics − diabetes and musculoskeletal problems. Quantitative information included trace analysis and on-screen questionnaires. Qualitative information included individual and group interviews, and observation over a period of 10 months.

Results: Use was consistent over time. Subject areas were equally accessed with most users entering only one area per session. Mean session time was five minutes and clinical setting users were more likely to answer on-screen questions. The majority considered use ‘easy’ with the proportion indicating use ‘very hard’ increasing with age. Across both sites, women's health, children and drugs and alcohol were identified as issues for which more information was needed. Interview data emphasised the importance of Indigenous and recognisable voices with non-text based content relevant to the local context.

Conclusion: Touch-screen technology offers a means to provide relevant and accessible health information in Indigenous settings and may contribute to overcoming the ‘information gap’. There are obvious implications in relation to Indigenous mental health.