SMART Recovery Australia has joined forces with the University of Wollongong (UOW) and creative agency GHO to launch Smart Track, an app that helps people manage and overcome addictive behaviours. The app allows users to log their urges, set goals, track their progress and access helpful resources. 

Smart Track is an extension of SMART Recovery Australia’s program of weekly in-person group meetings, where people with any form of addictive behaviour – drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, food, shopping, the internet and more – can seek help. There are over 300 SMART Recovery groups delivered across Australia, reaching over 2,000 people each week.

Like SMART Recovery meetings, the app gives users the power to design their own recovery journey through establishing personalised goals and sources of motivation. App users can also track and monitor their cravings while receiving real-time feedback and progress reports.   

“A core aspect of our SMART Recovery program is to empower people to take back control of their problematic behaviour,” says SMART Recovery Australia’s Executive Director, Ryan McGlaughlin.

“Whether it’s our app, online and in person meetings, or self-help books, the SMART program is designed to give people a toolbox of practical and evidence-based strategies they can handpick to achieve the goals of their choosing.” 

SMART Track forms part of a research project conducted by SMART Recovery Australia and the University of Wollongong (OUW), along with University of Newcastle, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, Monash University, Harvard University and King’s College London. The study will examine use of an online Routine Outcome Monitoring (ROM) tool – which involves real-time feedback being provided to participants whilst attending SMART Recovery groups.

UOW’s project lead, Associate Professor Peter Kelly, says, “Addiction is something that affects millions of Australians including family and friends of those with dependency every single year. Understanding is the first step towards a solution, and this app allows our team to gain a clear understanding of how addiction appears in our everyday lives.

One hundred SMART Recovery group members are being recruited for the non-randomised trial of the SMART Track app. Following completion of the study, the research team is hoping to integrate the SMART Track app with all SMART Recovery groups across Australia.

The SMART Track app was designed by GHO, a leading digital and customer experience agency.

Speaking about the process of developing the app with the research team, Executive Creative Director Ryan Chao said: “This was a really rewarding project for us to be involved on. Working closely with the research team and using a human-centered approach we were able to get feedback directly from the people accessing the SMART Recovery groups to validate and optimise our design decisions.” 

Funding for this research project was provided by the NSW Ministry of Health under the NSW Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Early Intervention Innovation Grant Scheme. SMART Recovery participants interested in taking part in the trial can visit: smartrecoveryaustralia.com.au/smart-track-app

Registrations will remain open until September 14.