Reach Health Promotion Innovations

Mobile technology for health behaviour change

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.

“Presenting at Medicine 2.0 was a terrific opportunity to contextualize my work with what’s happening around the world,” James said. “I think researchers can sometimes become very invested in their own projects, and lose sight of the bigger picture of developments in their field. This is particularly an issue for doctoral candidates, who spend several years conducting largely independent research on highly specialised subjects, and even more so for those using digital media, Internet services or mobile technology, all fields which change very rapidly. Conferences like this are a great chance to pop your head up and see what others are doing, to meet like minded people and receive feedback on your work from academics who are seeing it with entirely fresh eyes.”

During his presentation, James gave a live demonstration of Pier 2 Peer, the mobile application he developed to assist people in eating fish sufficiently regularly to achieve health benefits. He also demonstrated the custom analytics framework he built to visualise and analyse app user patterns and their association with behavior change. This framework generated significant interest, with a number of eHealth and mHealth researchers enquiring about using this framework to evaluate their own applications.