THE BIGGER PICTURE

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James White recently returned from Malaga, in the south of Spain, where he presented his doctoral research at the conference Medicine 2.0: Social Media, Mobile Apps, and Internet/Web 2.0 in Health, Medicine and Biomedical Research. This is the annual conference of the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the foremost academic journal in the field of digital health. Read More...

MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS

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Health promotion works best when it’s done in partnership. Every individual and organisation has unique skills, reach and expertise. While this is important for any health promotion initiative, we think that it’s vital in health software development and evaluation.

The best outcomes happen when developers, designers and other technical professionals are included in a multidisciplinary team as early as possible in the project development process. Read More...

MHEALTH AND EBOLA

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The Ebola outbreak is dominating the news this month and amongst all the terrible stories, we read this interesting piece about how mHealth could be a key facilitator in reducing the spread of the virus. Take a look at this balanced article about how mobiles can be used for rapid dissemination of information in developing countries when time is of the essence.

APP DESIGN AWARDS

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It’s great to see health promotion apps among the finalists of the 2014 Australian Mobile & App Design Awards. We love the Beyond Blue ‘Check in’ app and the VicHealth Better Health Channel app. There are some interesting, innovative apps in the shortlist, which is well worth a look.

COMPETING WITH GIANTS

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Health promotion has always faced competition from bigger, louder and much more highly funded organisations. This month we saw news that McDonalds is trialling home delivery and launching their new app to enable people to order their food before they get to the store. Utilising games, big budgets and savvy marketing, apps such as these can undermine healthy lifestyle initiatives by making the unhealthy choice the easy choice. Here’s the article, and here’s an interesting response from LiveLighter.

/DEV/WORLD 2014

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James White will be presenting at this year’s /dev/world conference in Melbourne, from September 29-30. Now in its seventh year, /dev/world is Australia’s oldest Mac and iOS developer conference, and is attended by some of Australia and New Zealand’s best mobile and desktop application developers. James has attended /dev/world on three previous occasions, but this will be his first time as a presenter. His session will cover analytics and evaluation of mobile apps.

PIFI SCHOLARSHIP

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Becky White has been awarded the 2014 Parent Infant Feeding Initiative (PIFI) Scholarship, funded by Healthway and Curtin University’s School of Public Health. Becky will shortly begin a PhD project investigating the impact of partner attitudes on breastfeeding. As part of her project, Becky will be investigating how mobile technology can be used to impact on a health promotion initiative.  Read More...

MEDICINE 2.0

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James White has been invited to present at the conference Medicine 2.0: Social Media, Mobile Apps, and Internet/Web 2.0 in Health, Medicine and Biomedical Research. The conference will take place from 9-10 October 2014 in Malaga, Spain, and will bring together the world’s premier digital health practitioners.
Read More...

APPLE SCHOLARSHIP

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James White has been awarded an Apple scholarship to attend the Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC), in San Francisco, from 2-6 June 2014. WWDC is an annual conference attracting more than 5000 iOS and Mac developers from around the world. With tickets in high demand, Apple ensures that talented student developers have an opportunity to attend by awarding 200 scholarships each year. James said, “Attending WWDC is a wonderful opportunity to network with other developers and to receive training and advice from Apple’s best engineers. To receive this scholarship is really gratifying, and I intend to make the most of every opportunity that presents itself.” Read Curtin University’s article about this award.

SiREN WORKSHOP UPDATE

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REACH HPI’s Becky and James White presented a half-day satellite workshop at the 2014 symposium of the WA Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Applied Research and Evaluation Network (SiREN). More than 50 participants attended, from a diverse range of backgrounds and disciplines, creating a fascinating forum for discussing innovations in sexual health promotion. Read More...

FEED SAFE TAKES APP STORE BY STORM

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In just its first week of availability, Feed Safe was downloaded by thousands of women across Australia. It spent several days as the second most downloaded free health and fitness app in the country. The app has also generated a lot of interest in both traditional and social media, having been discussed in a number of radio interviews, and featured in a prominent article in the West Australian newspaper. “We’ve received so much positive feedback from users,” said Reach HPI’s Becky White, who has received nearly 200 emails from users and community members since the app’s launch. “Users are telling us they love the app’s simplicity and clarity. We’re thrilled to have been involved in producing a resource that Australian women find so useful.”

FEED SAFE AVAILABLE NOW

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Reach HPI today released Feed Safe, a new mobile application built in collaboration with the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) and Curtin University. Feed Safe addresses the issue of alcohol consumption during breastfeeding, and builds on the work of Curtin’s Dr Roslyn Giglia who, together with the ABA, published the brochure Breastfeeding and alcohol: A guide for mothers. Dr Giglia’s work has been incorporated into the NHMRC’s guidelines for alcohol consumption while breastfeeding, and these guidelines form the basis of the Feed Safe app. The project, which included evaluation of the app with around thirty participants, was funded by a Healthway project grant. Read More...

AUSTRALIAN HEALTH PROMOTION ASSOCIATION

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REACH HPI’s Becky White has joined the committee for the West Australian branch of the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA). AHPA is the peak health promotion body in WA. “I’m looking forward to being involved with a range of activities and strategies to help with health promotion within WA, and Australia,” Becky said.

SEXUAL HEALTH, SOCIAL MEDIA AND MOBILE TECHNOLOGY WORKSHOP

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REACH HPI will be presenting a half day satellite workshop at the upcoming SiREN sexual health symposium in Perth. The theme for the symposium is ‘Building the foundations for innovation’, and the workshop will cover the use of social media and mobile technology in sexual health promotion, including regulations, ethics, privacy and evaluation. Read More...

MY QUITBUDDY

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In a big win for mobile health, the My QuitBuddy app (available on both the App Store and on Google Play) was recently awarded the best mobile app in the government services category, by the Australian Mobile Awards. The app, developed by the Australian National Preventative Health Agency, has been downloaded nearly a quarter of a million times to date. My Quit Buddy helps Australians to quit smoking, and the focus on evaluation is adding to the evidence for the use of this medium in achieving behaviour change within the population. Read more about the app, and its award.

HEALTH INNOVATION MASTER CLASS

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REACH HPI’s James White recently participated in the first Health Innovation Masterclass, hosted by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. This two-day event brought together medical practitioners, researchers, entrepreneurs and software developers from Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, to discuss and develop innovative health ideas. Projects covered a diverse array of fields, including obesity, pain management, medical side-effect tracing, accreditation and diabetes management. Read More...

ANOTHER APP?

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Something we often hear is “There are already so many apps. Why do we need more?” We’d say that, while we don’t necessarily need more health apps, we certainly need better ones. This theme was examined recently on the excellent online scientific forum The Conversation. Many people will not know that while the Therapeutic Goods Administration has guidelines for certain medical apps, there is currently still no regulatory process for non-medical “health” apps. Read More...

A THESIS IN THREE MINUTES

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Congratulations to Casiana Blanca Villarino, winner of the 2013 Curtin University Three Minute Thesis competition. Casiana presented on a novel approach to creating high-fibre, high-protein bread using lupins, and will represent Curtin later this month at the national finals in Sydney.

School of Public Health doctoral students have now won the Curtin competition two years in a row – REACH HPI’s own James White was selected as the 2012 winner. Clearly health research is at the forefront of innovation, at least in Western Australia! Read about James’ experience at the 2012 national finals here.

SPEAKING OF GOVHACK...

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Still on the GovHack theme, Adelaide health promotion technology agency Zockmelon entered the competition with an overt health promotion goal: to help people discover outdoor recreation opportunities in their local communities, assisting them to stay active without relying on gyms or organised sport. Their app, LocalActive, was awarded the Safe Communities, Healthy Neighbourhoods prize. Zockmelon’s Kristy Schirmer wrote this interesting piece on what health promoters can learn from the GovHack model.

ADVINTAGE

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REACH HPI’s James White recently participated in the GovHack event. 1000 people in eight Australian cities spent a weekend competing to find novel uses for Government data sources. James’ team built a mobile application called Advintage, which draws on the National Library’s Trove database. Trove is a massive online collection scanned newspaper and magazine pages spanning more than a century, and Advintage enables users to easily explore the millions of advertisements it contains. Advintage was awarded the national Trove Developers’ Prize, as well as the Perth Digital Humanities Prize. Read More...

HEALTHWAY FUNDED BREASTFEEDING PROJECT

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REACH HPI has been awarded a Healthway Project Grant for the project Harnessing mobile technology to promote safer alcohol consumption behaviour during lactation. This is a collaborative project with the Australian Breastfeeding Association and Curtin University, and will see a new mobile app developed to assist breastfeeding mothers in making more informed decisions about alcohol consumption. Reach HPI’s Becky White said, “As a mother who only recently finished breastfeeding, I’m very aware of the importance of good information for mothers. This project will have real benefits for mothers who can often find this issue confusing.” Curtin University’s Dr Roslyn Giglia, upon whose research this project is based, said, “This is a great opportunity to provide evidence-based information to breastfeeding mothers via a unique user friendly medium.”

PREGNANCY APPS IN DEMAND

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There are many types of health apps available across the range of mobile platforms. While there has long been strong interest in fitness-related apps, the most recent Citrix Bytemobile Mobile analytics report demonstrates that pregnancy-related apps are now the most downloaded health apps across all the major platforms. Data collected worldwide show that, for those who have one or more health-related apps on their device, 47% use a pregnancy related app, compared to 39% for fitness apps. Read More...

ARE SMARTPHONES THE ANSWER TO PUBLIC HEALTH SURVEYS?

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Two prominent US public health organisations think they may be. The National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have jointly announced a project proposal to collect population health data via smartphones and investigate if it will help make health data quicker and easier to collect, and more accessible to the community. Read More...

PERTH STARTUP WEEKEND

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REACH HPI’s James White competed in the recent Perth Startup Weekend. This event sees competing groups take a tech-focused business idea from concept to prototype over the course of 56 hours. While the project James worked on wasn’t health-related, he noted that two of the pitched ideas were related to mental health. “There’s a lot of interest in the way mobile technology can deliver messages and connect people - users to service providers, and users to users,” James said. “This creates real opportunities in fields such as mental health, where these connections are so important.” Read More...

YOUR MAN REMINDER

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We’re the first to appreciate an innovative app which draws attention to an important health issue, and if it uses a bit of humour to do so, that’s even better. The 'Your Man Reminder' app, released by the Canadian breast cancer charity Rethink, combines clever marketing with some fetching gentlemen to get women talking about breast awareness. You can watch the video here, and download the app from the App Store or Google Play.

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

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Becky White has recently been appointed as a community representative for the City of Wanneroo's Healthy Communities Steering Group. Becky said, "I think it's really important to support health promotion initiatives in the communities we live in and this program is delivering some great benefits for local residents."

SCREENKEEPER AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

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REACH HPI has released ScreenKeeper, a free mobile app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. ScreenKeeper enables users to keep track of important cancer screens, including pap smears, mammograms, bowel screens and prostate examinations.

FIVE QUESTIONS TO ASK DEVELOPERS

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As the healthcare industry becomes increasingly aware of the opportunities and benefits of information technology, more and more service providers are being faced with the difficult task of commissioning development work and making sense of different approaches and estimates. REACH HPI's James White was recently asked to contribute an editorial piece to a forthcoming special addition of the Australasian Medical Journal, focussing on innovation and new technology. His paper provides practical advice for health service providers commissioning mobile software, with particular emphasis on the essential characteristics of mobile applications and different approaches to development. Read More...

GAME CHANGERS

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We’re proud of our association with Curtin University, which has a strong emphasis on innovation and embracing change. This emphasis is the focus of a new set of television commercials promoting the university. Watch closely for a fleeting cameo from REACH HPI’s resident publicity hog.

SCHOLARSHIP AWARD

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REACH HPI’s James White was recently awarded the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) and Curtin Research Scholarship (CRS). These will enable James to progress his doctoral project, An electronic, virtual community intervention to increase fish consumption.

INNOVATION IN PRIMARY CARE

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REACH HPI's James White attended the 2012 Health Informatics Conference in Sydney, during which he presented as part of a panel on the subject of innovation in primary care. The session included a group discussion between clinicians, regulatory agents, innovators, and academics from each Australian state. The themes from this session were collated and discussed in a paper entitled "Harnessing information technology to innovate in primary care", which was recently accepted for publication in the British journal Quality in Primary Care. Read More...