Reach Health Promotion Innovations

Mobile technology for health behaviour change

START

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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."

CBC Conference 2018

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In February 2018, REACH HPI's Becky White will be attending the fourth annual conference of the Centre for Behaviour Change, at University College London. Becky attended the conference in 2017, presenting her formative evaluation and early results investigating the Milk Man mobile app, as part of the Parent Infant Feeding Initiative. She will again present on Milk Man, this time adding results from the recently completed randomised controlled trial.

Resilience

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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...

Research impact summit

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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.

Milk Man evaluation paper

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We talk a lot about the importance of robust evaluation – and the tendency for this to be sometimes lacking in mobile health. We’d like to think that we walk the talk, by embedding evaluation plans into early stage planning on each of our projects. The Milk Man trial currently underway takes this to a whole new level – the Parent Infant Feeding Initiative, in which the app is being evaluated, involves more than 1200 West Australian couples and, when complete, will be largest male partner focused randomised controlled trial ever to be conducted in the field of breastfeeding research. REACH HPI's Becky White led on a paper recently accepted for publication in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia, in which the evaluation plan for this app is described.

/dev/world (again)

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Reach HPI’s James White recently presented at the 2016 /dev/world conference in Melbourne. One of Australia’s longest running developer conferences, this was James’ sixth year attending the conference, and third as an invited speaker. James gave a session titled “Design 101 for Programmers”, in which he presented a series of simple tips for improving mobile and web design, for those without a strong design background. The session is available online.

Milk Man: Using gamification to engage dads

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The Parent Infant Feeding Initative (PIFI) is a large, Healthway-funded research program currently being undertaken by Curtin University, which focusses on the male partners of breastfeeding mothers. REACH HPI has been closely involved with the PIFI from early in its development, with particular emphasis on the development of Milk Man, a socially connected, gamified app fathers. We believe in the use of established behaviour change theory in the development of mHealth interventions, and the social cognitive theory was important in the selection and design of engagement strategies for the Milk Man app. REACH HPI’s Becky White led on a paper describing the theory-based design and development of the Milk Man app, and this paper was recently published by the JMIR, one of the foremost publications focused on mHealth and digital health interventions. This open access paper is available online.

Feed Safe: Partnerships work

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The Feed Safe project, a collaboration between REACH HPI, the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA), and Curtin University, stands as an excellent example of the value of effective partnership working in public health initiatives. The project team comprised specialists in health promotion, mobile development, knowledge translation and marketing. It also had the backing and support of Australia’s most trusted name in breastfeeding information, the ABA, a factor that was critical in its positive reception. Feed Safe is now available for iOS and Android, has been downloaded more than 85,000 times in Australia alone, and has been used more than 750,000 times. Read More...

AHPA conference

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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. Read More...

Cyber Savvy

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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.

YOW! West

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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...

AODConnect

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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...

ResearchKit

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Apple today announced a new framework called ResearchKit. Built in collaboration with more than a dozen leading medical institutions and foundations including Stanford Medicine, Oxford University, Massachusetts Hospital and the American Heart Foundation, the stated goal of ResearchKit is to make it easy for health and medical researchers to gather data on a scale never before possible, whilst upholding established best practice in ethics and informed consent. Critically, Apple has announced that this framework will be open source, meaning that it can potentially be applied well beyond the Apple platform and device ecosystem. Read More...

Another breastfeeding app...for men

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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.

HealthInfoNet

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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

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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

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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 masterclass

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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. 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.”

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.