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New Healthy Habits app for general practitioners looks to encourage healthier lifestyles in patients

New Healthy Habits app for general practitioners looks to encourage healthier lifestyles in patients
November 24, 2023

With eight out of 10 patients wanting their general practitioners to talk to them about physical activity and nutrition, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has released a new app, Healthy Habits.

Aimed at helping general practitioners discuss physical activity and nutrition with patients and monitor their progress, the free mobile app and linked clinical dashboard encourages patients to work with their doctors and primary healthcare providers to develop healthier lifestyle habits.

As reported by Medical Republic, the RACGP partnered with the Federal Department of Health and Aged Care to develop the program which can be used in Medicare-funded health checks and chronic disease management plans.

The Healthy Habits program includes a mobile app where patients can log their goals for achieving a healthier lifestyle, including nutrition, sleep and physical activity changes, and monitor their progress alongside their general practitioner or healthcare provider.

It also includes a linked clinician dashboard where doctors can track a patient’s progress towards their goals over time, identify those that may be struggling to maintain their progress and send messages of encouragement.

Available for all Australian general practices, most practices could register for the program and begin accepting patients within five minutes, according to the Healthy Habits website.

According to Professor Mark Harris of the University of NSW and Chair of the Healthy Habits Advisory Working Group, participation might also be used as part of Medicare-funded health checks and chronic disease management plans.

Professor Harris “diet and physical activity are part of the treatment of chronic conditions and Healthy Habits can be used alongside referral to other allied health professionals, such as dietitians.

“It is also ideal for patients who enrol with practices as part of MyMedicare.”

According to Professor Harris, while there were countless programs and apps targeting lifestyle and behaviour changes, Healthy Habits was unique in that it was designed for patients with or at risk of chronic disease.

He added “(Healthy Habits) is also designed to link back to the practice so that our patients’ behaviour change can be reinforced during and between consultations.

“It’s not time consuming to set up and use with patients, and it can really make a difference.”

Unfortunately, since its launch earlier this month there has been limited promotion of the Healthy Habits app so its adoption by general practitioners, and awareness among members of the public who would benefit from using it, currently appears to be limited.

Click here for more information about the Healthy Habits program on the RACGP website.

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