Weight Management Mentor: iPhone Application R&D

Verdant Health Pty Ltd and the CSIRO Tasmanian ICT Centre have developed a Weight Management Mentor, an iPhone application based electronic mentoring system supporting consumers on pharmacy-based weight management programs.

Meal replacement programs have been proven to be an effective weight management mechanism. Subscribers who adhere to the program gain life-changing results. The challenge for participants, however, is to overcome the psychological barriers that prevent them from adhering to the management regime.

Over the counter pharmacy programs have been criticized for not providing adequate customer support (Choice magazine, 2009). The relative low retention rates also reflect this weakness. The mobile weight mentoring system has been developed by Verdant Health and CSIRO to address this issue. The Weight Management Mentor uses mobile phone technology to record a person’s weight management experiences in real time. The technology polls the participant at key times requesting information on diet, activity and other lifestyle and wellbeing indicators. This information can quickly profile the participant and assist the pharmacist (mentor) to provide the right level of support.

Unlike web-based electronic diaries, the Weight Management Mentor’s ability to seamlessly interact with the consumer in real time, offers a significant advantage over systems that rely on the consumer to intrusively record data at the end of every day.

This project has been made possible through the support of the Tasmanian Innovations Advisory Board, Research Partnerships Program. The Research Partnerships Program was established by the Department of Economic Development to increase the level of engagement between research organisations and industry. It offers funding and a structured way for businesses to work with researchers who have the expertise to help develop innovative products, processes or services that have commercialisation potential.