Reach Health Promotion Innovations

Mobile technology for health behaviour change

Mobile technology

Keeping children safe online

We're proud to announce that REACH HPI has been chosen as the development partner for a major new app developed in partnership with Bankwest and Telethon Kids Institute. At a time when parents desperately need good, trusted advice to keep their children safe and well online, this new app will provide exactly that information. Andy Weir, Executive General Manager, Technology & Transformation at Bankwest, said, "We’re privileged to have access to the very best expertise and knowledge from a cyber security perspective. And we’re passionate and determined to be able to share that with parents and children across our communities." The app is due to be released in the second half of 2020. Read about the initiative, or watch the announcement.

Bright tomorrows start today

After a year of development, Bright Tomorrows is now available for Australian parents. A collaboration between Telethon Kids Institute, the Mindaroo Foundation, and REACH HPI, Bright Tomorrows is an app for parents of children aged 0-5. Based on up-to-the-minute developmental research, the app contains over 1000 meaningful moments and tips to help build young brains. It also contains advanced tailoring technology, developed bespoke at REACH HPI, to guide parents to content that's perfect for them and their family.
Visit the website, or download now from the App Store or Google Play.


REACH HPI will be working with Catholic Education WA (CEWA) and the Telethon Kids Institute to develop a new HealthKit-based Apple Watch app. The app, called Resilience, will be used as part of an initiative to investigate the strategies employed by school principals in coping with the demands of their high-pressure position. Specifically the app will record detailed health metrics over the course of a 22 week trial, while asking regular in-the-moment questions to explore stress levels, emotional wellbeing, lifestyle factors and coping strategies. Read More...


REACH HPI is working in collaboration with the Curtin University Physical Activity and Well-being Lab (PAW) to develop a new mobile app to encourage physical activity. This app, funded by the Cancer Council of Western Australia will be piloted as part of the START trial, which aims to investigate the effects of a peer-led walking program on physical activity, health, well-being, and work outcomes in physically inactive employees. "The START project fits squarely with our view of the way mobile technology can augment public health initiatives," REACH HPI's James White said. "Well-designed mobile apps, built to supplement socially-connected health interventions with a strong focus on peer support, and to provide a wealth of rich data to help researchers to understand their impact. That's what we do."

Cyber Savvy

Over the past year, REACH HPI has been working in partnership with Telethon Kids Institute and Edith Cowan University to create a mobile app that forms the centrepiece of the CyberSavvy school initiative. This project is focussed on helping young people to be safe online, and to be aware of the consequences of social image sharing. It also provides resources, information and support contacts. The app, called ImageUp, is available now.

AHPA conference

REACH HPI's Becky White and James White will be presenting a workshop at the 2016 Australian Health Promotion Association Conference, on 19 June, in Perth. The workshop, titled Mobile Technology in Health Promotion, will present a broad overview of the app development process, from idea
to finished product, and beyond.

YOW! West

This week REACH HPI's designer-in-chief James White presented at the YOW! West developer conference in Perth. James’ design-focused session was well-attended and well-received, and is available for online viewing.

Feed Safe for Android

We're delighted to announce that Feed Safe is now available for Android devices. This is long overdue; Feed Safe has been a very popular service for breastfeeding mothers in the two years since it was released, and REACH HPI has received over 800 emails from women across Australia, enquiring about Android availability. Feed Safe for Android was released on April 7, and we've already received nearly fifty messages from users, along these lines: Read More...

AODConnect now available for Android

AODconnect is a mobile app providing a directory of Australian providers of culturally appropriate AOD (alcohol and other drug) services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Built by REACH HPI for the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, the app was made available for iOS devices in May 2015, and now indexes over 250 Australian service providers. In the latter part of 2015 REACH HPI was engaged with building a native Android version of AODconnect, and this version is now available for download from Google Play.

Feed Safe NZ

Feed Safe, REACH HPI's app that assists breastfeeding mothers to make the best decisions about alcohol consumption, is now available in New Zealand. Released in collaboration with WellSouth Primary Health Network, the app contains official recommendations from the NZ Ministry of Health, as well as local contact details for breastfeeding information and support services.

Meanwhile, in Australia, Feed Safe has now been downloaded more than 50,000 times, and has been used more than half a million times, since its launch in 2014.

Apps for occupational hygiene

REACH HPI, in collaboration with Matthew Govorko, an asbestos researcher at Curtin University, will be presenting at the annual conference of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists (AIOH), 5 December 2015, at Crown Perth Convention Centre. The half-day continuing education session is aimed at non-technical people considering the development of apps aimed at risk communication, guiding and improving the practice of occupational hygienists, assisting with home or workplace hazard identification, or any other field of occupational hygiene.

Mobile application rating scale

Late last year the Young and Well CRC, and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) released a new tool for assessing the quality of mobile health applications. The tool was informed by research about assessing web and app quality and is comprehensive in coverage. With a real need to improve evaluation and validation of mobile apps in public health, this new tool is a welcome contribution.

/dev/world 2015

REACH HPI's James White recently presented at the 2015 /dev/world conference in Melbourne. /dev/world is Australia's longest running developer conference; this was James' fifth year attending, and second year presenting. Entitled "Paint all the code", James' presentation demonstrated a new technique for creating images in code, rather than using static image files, an approach that can potentially make apps smaller to download, quicker, and more adaptable to a range of devices and screen sizes. For anyone interested in diving into the intricacies of CoreGraphics image generation, James' presentation is available for viewing.

Science and apps

REACH HPI's James White was recently invited to present at the Perth Science Festival, on the subjects of mobile apps and science. With an audience comprising families and many budding mini-scientists, James thought he'd be spared the rigorous question times that feature in regular academic presentations. However, he was put through the wringer with a number of interesting, and surprisingly challenging questions from the children and parents in attendance. We're big supporters of initiatives like the Science Festival, and its primary contributor, Scitech, in promoting science and technology to curious young minds.

Mobile wins the internet

Australians are now accessing the internet more from smartphones than they are from their PCs. According to the June Nelisen Australian Online Landscape Review, smartphones accounted for 47%of average daily unique browsers, with Desktop computers contributing just 36%.

WWDC scholarship (again)

For the second year running James White has been awarded an Apple scholarship to attend the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. The conference, which this year runs between 8-12 June, brings together 5000 developers from around the world to learn, share and network. “Apple has recently been particularly active in the health space, with the release of HealthKit for health focussed-apps, ResearchKit for medical research, and the strongly health-focussed Apple Watch” James said. “I fully expect to hear about some exciting developments in this area, and I’m looking forward to the chance to again ask questions of the very developers and product managers who bring these products and services to us.” Read More...


In November 2014 the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet approached Reach HPI to consult on a mobile app. The goal was to take their extensive database of Australian providers of culturally appropriate AOD (alcohol and other drug) services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and make it highly accessible for mobile users. The brief was to create a fast, responsive and easy to use app, which made it simple to hone in on services that were relevant to the user’s location and specific needs. Many community health professionals operate in remote places with patchy data connections, so the app needed to work well in these conditions, or even with no connection at all. The result, released today, is AODconnect. This app currently indexes around 250 service providers, and allows users to filter services by location, focus, or types of services offered. Read More...

Another breastfeeding app...for men

Reach HPI has been selected to develop a new mobile application for the Parent Infant Feeding Initiative, a Healthway funded research project based at Curtin University. The app, which will be developed for both iOS and Android devices, will aim to educate new fathers about the importance of breastfeeding, and the valuable role they play in supporting their breastfeeding partners. It will be evaluated over the course of 18 months, in one of the largest studies of its kind ever conducted.


Reach HPI is happy to announce a partnership with Edith Cowan University and the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet project to develop a new mobile application for providers of AOD (alcohol and other drug) services for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people. The app is scheduled for release in early 2015 and will provide an access point for a range of services across the country. “The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has been a valuable tool for organisations providing services in this important area,” said James White, who will be developing the app. “We’re very proud to have been chosen to collaborate on this next stage of the project, where we will be making this wealth of information readily accessible via mobile.”

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...

PIFI scholarship

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...

/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.

App design awards

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.

Apple scholarship

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

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

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

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...

Sexual health, social media and mobile technology workshop

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

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.

Another app?

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...


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...

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.

Five questions to ask developers

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...

Screenkeeper available for download

ScreenKeeper application
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.