Developing and using m-health interventions in PHC: lessons from the Growing healthy program

Georgina Russell, Rachel Laws, Karen J Campbell, Sarah Taki, Roz Elliott, Leva Azadi, Elizabeth Denney-Wilson
Publication type: 
Conference presentation
Stream 1 Families with young children
2015 PHC Research Conference, Adelaide, 29-31 July 2015
Presentation slides available here.


To share key challenges and lessons learnt in the development of a mobile phone based (m-health) PHC program aimed at promoting healthy infant feeding practices in socioeconomically disadvantaged mothers.


M-health interventions are popular due to their low cost, potential for dissemination and reach to targeted groups. PHC providers are frequently asked to confirm and clarify information gathered by consumers from an app or website. For m-health programs to have an impact on behaviour they must be engaging and relevant to the target audience. However there is limited literature to inform researchers about the development process. 


The Growing healthy program consists of an app and website. Users receive three messages a week that link to relevant information in the app or website. The development of the program involved: an analysis of existing apps and websites on infant feeding, literature reviews, qualitative work with PHC practitioners and parents and user testing to enhance engagement and usability. Researchers documented development challenges and lessons throughout the process. The effectiveness of the app/website will be measured by participants’ engagement as well as key outcomes including referral to the app by PHC practitioners.


There were key learnings in all domains of the project development, including the app content, navigation and appearance and the technology for both the app and to embed data collection.  

Relevance to policy, research and/or practice needs

Although m-health interventions can affect health behaviour and reinforce messages from PHC providers the development process is extensive. We provide guidance on this process.




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