Reach Health Promotion Innovations

Mobile technology for health behaviour change


Art of the Possible

In July, REACH HPI was invited to be part of the Art of the Possible, a digital health showcase as part of the WA Health Sustainable Health Review. This mini-expo aimed to showcase leading-edge digital technology to invited guests including government ministers, clinicians and consumers. Becky White had the opportunity to talk about public health apps with the Hon Roger Cook MLA, Deputy Premier, Minister for Health and Mental Health, and show him some of our work. Mr Cook said of the showcase, "Western Australia is a leading global contributor to health innovation and medical research. Digital health is one of the fastest growing industry sectors globally, particularly mobile and wireless health…We must move as the technology improves and we must be ready to try new approaches and ways to deliver health care."

Research impact summit

The Research Impact Summit, hosted by Tamika Holden of Knowledge Translation Australia is a free, three day online summit happening this November with a focus on knowledge translation, research impact and implementation science. The line up of speakers promises thought provoking content from a diverse range of industry and research leaders. REACH HPIs Becky White will be speaking about the considerations needed when thinking about using mobile technology and apps as part of your knowledge translation strategy. "Researchers and practitioners are being required to demonstrate their research impact in a number of ways," Becky said. "I’m looking forward to sharing what we've learned, and hearing advice from some of the excellent speakers over the course of the summit." Free tickets are available now.

20,000 downloads for Feed Safe

Feed Safe, REACH HPI’s collaboration with the Australian Breastfeeding Association and Curtin University, has now been downloaded by over 20,000 Australian women in the nine months since it was released. “The response has been incredible,” said Becky White, who conceived the idea while breastfeeding her first child. “The best thing is the many emails we get from users, thanking us for the app, and telling us how they now feel more confident they’re making the right decisions.”

The bigger picture

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...

/dev/world 2014

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.

Medicine 2.0

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.

Health innovation masterclass

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. James said, “It’s always inspiring to see innovative minds take problems they deeply care about, apply many years of expertise and field experience, and devise exciting new solutions. It’s so important that we don’t leave good ideas as just that – ideas. Events like this help innovators to test their ideas, receive feedback and criticism, and begin to take practical steps towards putting the fruit of those ideas into real people’s hands.”


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...

A thesis in three minutes

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

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.

Healthway funded breastfeeding project

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

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

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

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

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.

Innovation in primary care

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...

Game changers

Curtin Game Changers TVC
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.