New app helps Dundee's young people with sexual health

App developers help tackle sexual health issues

Young adults around Dundee can now use an app developed by a Nethergate firm to find the nearest free condoms.

NHS Tayside has worked with Dundee digital marketing experts, Zudu to create a series of new apps, starting with a digital update of the Condom Card Scheme which helps young people in Tayside make safer choices.

Zudu’s CCard, Free Condom Finder App, which can be downloaded to any smartphone, allows young adults direct access to the locations of free condom sites around the city, as well as offering games, sexual health advice and information on what their peers are getting up to.

Rick Messit, client director at Zudu, told BQ: “Gamification and digital design can play a huge role in modern healthcare and other sectors. By providing users with access to their own health data we can actually make ‘being healthy’ more fun, more trackable and more interactive. Just like players will try and ‘level up’ their characters in an entertainment game they can now level up their most important character – themselves.

"With the Condom Card app we knew we would appeal to the 16- 24 age group. Tailoring it to increase gamification – encouraging engagement with a digital service - alongside education, has been our aim.”

"The big advantage is that we can break down the journey to good health into bite–sized chunks and make it more fun. People will perform much better when they are incentivised to reach smaller achievements on route to their ultimate goals.

"Beyond just health, these principles can be applied to many sectors, the best way to think of it is ‘behavioural change via the use of well-designed and expertly timed reward structures and incentives’ – we can help organisations shape the behaviour of sales people, customer support workers, emergency responders, the list is endless."

Historically, the region’s teenage pregnancy rate has been high compared with the national average. NHS Tayside and its partners have worked hard to reverse this trend, and have seen a year on year reduction since 2007.  The free condom scheme is one of the many interventions used to reduce teenage conception, and with more and more kids living digitally, they said it was time to update the scheme.

The greatest hurdle for sexual health initiatives aimed at young adults is holding their attention and making sure they are getting the right information for their situation. The Condom Card App was designed to grab the interest of youngsters and to help the NHS compile accurate data on their responses.

Zudu has a growing reputation for using its gaming technology in an ever-widening range of sectors

It has worked with CAIR Scotland to create a web application to tackle the issue of Legal Highs across Scotland; created a Fire Safety Web application to improve fire safety across the built environment and launched Fore Business, a golf sharing app for business owners who golf and want to expand their network.

And there may be another breakthrough in the pipeline when Zudu launches a new recruitment-led company that will include online interviews performed by 3D avatars.

Published: 20 July 2017

Article by Mike Hughes
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