CeBIT 2012: Vic Dept of Health to release Android-friendly app

The department also plans to release an upgraded version of its iOS app in June

The Victorian Department of Health will release a Web app for its Better Health Channel (BHC) app, which will allow users to access it via Android devices, in mid-2012.

Speaking at the CeBIT conference in Sydney, Gerardine O’Sullivan, Victorian government manager Web communications, told attendees that the department is currently working on the Android-compatible version of its BHC app, which is currently only available for iOS.

“A mobile optimised version of the BHC is also currently being built, which will extend the reach of BHC to Android-powered devices, and we progressively roll that from July this year,” she said.

O’Sullivan said due to limited funds, the department opted to develop the app for iOS first instead of Android because the former dominated the mobile OS market at the time of negotiation.

“Given limited funds, we made some assessment on the basis of what was known at the time and iPad, iPhone were definitely dominant and offered some opportunities,” she said.

“We had to make a call on which direction we were going and there was a preference for us to start with iPad and iPhone, and work our way more broadly… The idea is to be ubiquitous on all the platforms.

In addition, O’Sullivan said the department was upgrading its BHC iOS app, which has been downloaded more than 16,000 times, to include a range of new “healthy living” features.

Slated for a June launch, the app will provide users with information about access to tools and resources for food and nutrition, physical activity, healthy weight, health checks, immunisation, and reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption.

It also features a relationships and family section, covering a range of topics from pregnancy to parenting and coping with relationship stress.

“What we hope to do… is return a whole lot of customised content and provide a more engaging experience that interacts with the user and helps them… stay motivated in the course of their attempt to improve their own health petition,” O’Sullivan said.

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