Royal Australian College of General Practitioners - Healthy Habits

Exploring the next version of the Healthy Habits digital tools to help GPs and primary health care professionals support their patients to live healthier lifestyles

We worked with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to find opportunities to improve the Healthy Habits digital tools to better support people to make positive behavioural and lifestyle changes in their exercise, nutrition, and sleep habits.

The Opportunity

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the voice of general practitioners (GPs) in our growing cities and throughout rural and remote Australia. It is Australia’s largest professional general practice organisation representing more than 40,000 urban and rural general practitioner members. For more than 60 years, they have supported the backbone of Australia’s health system by setting the standards for education and practice and advocating for better health and well-being for all Australians.

RACGP Healthy Habits is a Commonwealth Government-funded digital health initiative that supports GPs and their practice teams to encourage patients to achieve healthier lifestyles, through increased physical activity and improved nutrition behaviours.

Healthy Habits consists of a suite of digital tools designed by RACGP to promote healthy behaviour change. It was designed in consultation with GPs, Primary Health Care Nurses, Practice Managers, health consumers, and behaviour change experts, to make positive lifestyle changes easier and more effective for patient's needs.

With this project, RACGP wanted to improve the user experience of the Healthy Habits digital tools and identify new ways the tools could bring benefit to the people using them. The program was initially launched as a pilot in 2021, and RACGP is now working to iterate on the tools and their functionality to support: 

  • more GPs and practice teams working with their patients on developing healthy habits and; 
  • more members of the public to achieve their healthy habits and physical, nutritional, and sleep health goals.

RACGP engaged us to help them gain a deeper understanding of their users, identify barriers and opportunities for the Healthy Habits digital tools, prototype some features for healthy sleep habits, and test these with their users. 

Project challenge

In this project, RACGP wanted to gain a better understanding of the people who might use Healthy Habits, both primary health care professionals and medical practitioners as well as members of the public. With this understanding, they were looking to find ways to make Healthy Habits more useful and engaging for the people it is intended to help.

RACGP had a number of goals for this project. Including

Understanding users

  • We identify who our users are beyond the products/services they consume
  • We understand what "engagement" is in the eyes of our users

Identifying improvements

  • We have a clear roadmap that provides targeted actions to improve our user experience
  • Our service to users is relevant, effective, and a great experience

Positioning the product

  • We understand how to attract and retain users in a competitive environment
  • Our roadmap encompasses a strategic approach to retaining and attracting users

Design and prototype sleep solution

  • We have identified behavioural and lifestyle sleep health interventions suitable for inclusion within Healthy Habits

We have iteratively designed, tested, and validated prototypes to include sleep health interventions in Healthy Habits

Our Approach

1. User research

The initial phase of the project focused on conducting comprehensive user research to understand the needs, challenges, and opportunities from the perspectives of both GPs and patients. This stage involved engaging in small group conversations with key stakeholders to gather insights into the existing processes and areas needing improvement. We then ran interviews with GPs and patients, allowing for an in-depth exploration of their experiences, expectations, and frustrations. The synthesis of this research culminated in a series of deliverables including prioritized design "How might we" problem statements and a draft map of the user journeys, which served to highlight key issues and areas for intervention. The creation of GP and patient personas provided a detailed and empathetic understanding of the users, facilitating a user-centered approach to addressing the identified challenges.

2. Product Roadmap Co-design

Building on the foundational insights gained from the user research, the second phase of the project transitioned into the co-design of a product roadmap. This involved a series of ideation sessions aimed at defining potential solutions to enhance the user experience in alignment with the desired behavioral changes. Ideas and findings were then played back to RACGP stakeholders and members of the Healthy Habits Working Group for validation and refinement. This collaborative approach extended to user testing interviews with GPs and patients, which tested the desirability of the proposed solutions. Additionally, a workshop focusing on the feasibility, viability, and desirability of these ideas was conducted with key stakeholders, ensuring that the solutions were both practical and aligned with user needs. The phase concluded with a playback presentation of key findings and a comprehensive set of deliverables, including future state GP and patient journey maps and a product roadmap. A final report summarized the findings and recommendations, providing a clear path forward.

3. Sleep Health Features Prototyping and Testing

The final phase centered on the prototyping and testing of sleep health features, identified as a crucial area for intervention to promote Healthy Habits. The process began with a prioritization workshop, which assessed various behavioral and lifestyle interventions related to sleep health that could be prototyped. This led to the creation of low to mid-fidelity prototypes, which were then subjected to user testing with GPs and patients to gauge their effectiveness and desirability. Feedback from these sessions informed the iterative design process, resulting in the development of mid to high fidelity concept designs (UI prototype screens).

User testing validated these high-fidelity prototypes, ensuring they met the needs and expectations of the end-users. The project culminated in a synthesis of findings and a final playback to RACGP stakeholders, alongside the delivery of initial low-fidelity prototype designs and user-validated high-fidelity prototype screens. A final report provided a comprehensive overview of the user testing findings and recommendations, marking the end of the project phase with actionable insights for future development and implementation.


RACGP used what we learned from our user research and prototyping, along with the work we did to strategically co-design a roadmap, to roll out the new sleep features for Healthy Habits and plan for a healthier future for all Australians.


"Working with Portable helped us to uncover our blind spots, giving us new insights and understanding in our users and a validated practical path forward to strategically enhance the Healthy Habits program for health consumers and general practice teams."

Lauren Thorn, Project Manager ‑ Shaping a Healthy Australia

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