12 Dec 2014
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Medibank funds app for Kiwi drinking culture

By Catherine Knowles

The new Hello Sunday Morning (HSM) mobile app has been developed with the help of a $50,000 grant from the Medibank Community Fund (MCF). The app aims to change Kiwi’s relationship with alcohol and influence the New Zealand drinking culture.

Since HSM launched in 2011, thousands of New Zealanders have signed up. Those who sign up go for three months or more without alcohol, blog their experience and undertake regular questionnaires to help assess their alcohol harm risk.

Jamie Moore, HSM, general manager, says this programme is the only one of its kind in the world and the app will make the experience more open and accessible.

“About 50% of our users access the program via mobile technology, but it’s currently not as effective or accessible on mobile,” says Moore.

Furthermore, he says the HSM team has identified that three months is too long for some people, so the app will ‘gradually nudge people towards their goals’.

The app will also integrate with other health apps such as RunKeeper, Jawbone and MyFitnessPal, as well as social media sites.

This will help users to combine their drinking data with fitness and sleep data. Which, according to Moore, can show users if they sleep and exercise less when they drink more, reinforcing their reasons for not drinking or drinking less.

“If people can physically see that information on their screen it makes it more real, and it’s important for them to be able to access that data and support on their mobile devices when, for example, they’re out on Saturday night,” says Moore.

“The MCF grant will be used to build an advanced smartphone app that will enable HSM to support New Zealanders to have a healthier relationship with alcohol by providing them with support in the moments that the pressure to drink causes them to slip-up. It will also support them to achieve their other HSM goals around weight loss, fitness and improved mental health,” he says.

Moore says the app should be ready by April 2015.

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