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This new free app could seriously cut down one of Australia’s deadliest diseases

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Sydney based start-up, mHealth Digital, has launched SunVisor, a mobile app aimed at decreasing the number of skin cancer cases in Australia.

For biomedical engineer, Lance Cohen (pictured), and Harvard-trained emergency physician, Dr Suzanne Miller, the SunVisor journey started in late 2013 at a Sydney Startup Weekend held at Fishburners. While the team did not place on the day, they had enough interest in the idea to move it forward.

The founders wondered, with all the hype about smart wearables and fitness trackers like FitBit and JawBone, why was no one focusing on changing behaviour to prevent Australia’s most common, but also most preventable disease?

Australians spend hundreds of millions of dollar on treating skin cancer each year – this free mobile app can put a stop to that. Instead of treating the problem, the SunVisor team hope to prevent it.

Dr Suzanne Miller
Dr Suzanne Miller

How exactly does SunVisor work?

SunVisor is available for free download on iOS and Android for anyone within Australia. No additional hardware purchase is required. The smart algorithms behind SunVisor, personalised to a user’s skin type, location, and activity, make it easier to stay sun safe.

The app works out when you’re exposed to the sun and sends real-time reminders when it’s time to seek shade, head indoors, or (re-)apply sunscreen.

Utilising smartphone sensors and signals, the Android app is even smart enough to know when you’re indoors or outdoors and track your personal sun exposure throughout the day in the background, without any manual input or draining battery.

“You don’t need to know the science about how it works or what is happening, that is the whole point of the app – to make it easy for everyone to stay sun safe,” Lance said.

SunVisorMaking smart partnerships

mHealth Digital is teaming up with corporate wellness platform providers to bring the important sun exposure and safety data from SunVisor to corporate wellness and lower the risk profile of skin cancer for employers and their staff around Australia.

“Our business model for the app is through our API (via a per user annual subscription model). In other words, anyone who would like to access the data from the app’s backend via our API will pay for this access on a per user, annual basis,”

“For example, we are working with corporate wellness providers and their IT partners to integrate user data from the app into their employee wellness portals.

“These providers already integrate data from other health/wellness apps (such as Map My Run for fitness), and incentivise staff to use these tools. However, they are missing data related to sun exposure and sun safety habits to reduce employee risk of sun burn and skin cancer.

“These providers plan to on-sell SunVisor as an add-on to their portal, and we will do a revenue split. This works out really well for us, because we have partners selling our app for mutual benefit – saving us investment in sales and marketing.”

What else is mHealth Digital cooking?

“One of the key things we are working on right now, is R&D on an algorithm to correlate the relationship between sun exposure and Vitamin D,” Lance revealed.

“This will either be implemented in a stand-alone app or within the existing SunVisor app,” he explained. “It will be especially useful in the winter months when the UV levels are lower, and people tend to spend more time indoors.”

Currently, SunVisor is only available in Australia so the team is working on making it available in other countries within the next year – Lance disclosed that he is in San Francisco working on developing commercial partnerships in the US.

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