Obesity is the second-highest risk factor across more than 200 types of disease or injury in Australia. Almost two in three adults and one in four children are overweight or obese in Australia.

It’s led the Australian Government to back the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ (RACGP) project to help GPs better support Australians to lead a healthier lifestyle.

The four-year government programme, funded by the Federal Department of Health, runs until June 2021 and will see GPs encourage and raise awareness of the need for Australians to exercise more and eat more healthily.

Another part of the government’s ‘Shaping a Healthy Australia’ programme also includes developing online tools to support GPs when giving information to patients.

The new ‘Healthy Habits’ project does just that.

Trialled across 25 urban and rural general practices in Australia, the iPhone and Android app helps patients with appropriate physical activities, recommended to them by GPs.

The project also allows the RACGP to gather and review feedback from all GPs and practice members.

Designed in our innovative #ThinkSmash sessions by an advisory group made up of general practitioners, registered nurses, practice managers, patient advocates and behavioural physiologists, the app allows GPs to recommend a physical activity to patients based on peer-reviewed science. This exercise programme is then augmented with behavioural science, which breaks down activities into easy to consume pieces, all to improve the chances of the patient successfully kicking off a positive habit.

The app is completely serverless and uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) native technologies, such as API Gateway, Lambda and Cognito. All builds and releases are automated, using AWS CodeBuild and CodePipeline, which allows the development team to iterate quickly and keep infrastructure costs to a minimum.

Alongside the RACGP, we’re now planning the next phase of the programme including integrating other healthcare systems, third party offerings and existing RACGP platforms.

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