Consumers IMgateway Project

Focus Groups


Central to all consumers health and well being is the individual ability to have inclusive, equitable access to accurate, evidenced based, easy to understand information and support. This helps YOU determine your approach to the treatments and services YOU access for your health management.

Ensuring YOU have access to accurate, independent information and advice backed by evidence that is easy to understand and relevant to YOU is a huge challenge. This is especially the case when it comes to complementary medicines such as vitamins, herbs, foods, and other supplements. It is also really important for YOU to have a clear understanding of how these complementary medicines interact with other treatments you may have been prescribed AND be comfortable discussing these with your health care team. Unfortunately, sometimes discussing YOUR use of complementary medicines with your health care team can be…difficult so you simply…don’t.

Musculoskeletal Australia and UnityHealth are on a mission to change that! To provide easy to understand information that has undergone in-depth clinical research and is evidence based that YOU can access to help you understand and discuss complementary medicines and your use of them in relation to your musculoskeletal health.

Welcome to the UnityHealth and Musculoskeletal Australia Consumers IMgateway Project.

The Initiative

UnityHealth is focussed on supporting a better understanding of the role of Integrative Medicine in an individuals’ health journey. For the last 15 years, UnityHealth has partnered with the University of Sydney, School of Pharmacy, to support health care professionals in their knowledge and understanding of herb/supplement/food-drug interactions. It has during this time, created an extensive database housing over 1450 complementary medicine interaction reports.

In an exciting extension of the IMgateway program, UnityHealth and Musculoskeletal Australia are exploring opportunities to adapt the tool so that is suitable for consumer access and use.

How to Get Involved

Online Consumer Focus Groups

Throughout April 2024, Unity Health and Musculoskeletal Australia will be conducting 3 virtual focus groups.

  • Places will be limited to 10 participants within each focus group
  • Participants will be asked to share their experience with and use of complementary medicines within the context of their musculoskeletal health/conditions or their general health and well being
  • Each session will approximately 1 hour
  • Each participant will receive a $50 gift voucher from UnityHealth for their time.

What’s the IMPACT?

Following the completion of the focus groups, UnityHealth and Musculoskeletal Australia will review the information gathered and use this to inform the next steps in the development of a Consumer IMgateway platform.

Focused on having a REAL IMPACT to support consumers, consideration will be given to achieving some of the following outcomes:

  • Understanding current tools/platforms used to support self care
  • Types of subscription models including low to no cost options
  • Ease of access and usability
  • Easy to understand language that consumers can use when discussing complementary medicines with their health care team
  • Education opportunities to help support consumers to have a better understanding of what and how complementary medicines may support their musculoskeletal health
  • Supporting consumers to better recognise misinformation
  • Supporting consumers to have ‘better’ discussions with their GP and other members of their health team about the use of complementary medicines.

Next Steps

If you answer ‘YES’ to the following questions, then we want YOU for one of our focus groups:

  1. Do you live with any of the 150 musculoskeletal diseases or conditions such as arthritis, back pain, or have any other diagnosed chronic conditions?
  1. Do you or have you ever used complementary medicines such as vitamins, Chinese herbs, acupuncture, food supplements or food combinations/avoidance programs to support and help you manage your musculoskeletal condition?

If the answer is YES, please follow the links below to complete our pre-registration questionnaire and to register your interesting in attending one of our upcoming focus groups. Places are limited, so please register today!

Focus Groups schedule:

Focus Group One: Tuesday 16 April 10.00am-11.00am (AEST)

Focus Group Two: Wednesday 17 April 12noon-1.00pm (AEST)

Focus Group Three: Thursday 18 April 4.00pm – 5.00pm (AEST)

Register your interest here

musculoskeletal health australia

Musculoskeletal Health Australia (or MHA) is the consumer organisation working with, and advocating on behalf of, people with arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, gout and over 150 other musculoskeletal conditions.

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