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SPHR Impact case study

Alcohol research: Drink Less app

The SPHR project ‘Optimising the alcohol reduction app, Drink Less‘ was a collaboration between researchers from University College London, University of Bristol, Fuse, LiLaC and colleagues at Public Health England. This project is an excellent example of how our research has had ongoing impact both in relation to policy and direct service user impact in the use of digital health interventions.

Real-world impact

The project enabled researchers to use a collaborative evidence-based approach to optimising the Drink Less app, aimed to help users to reduce alcohol use. This research has led to the successful release of a digital health intervention.


This is available in the iTunes app store and attracted an average of 185 downloads per day between September 2018 and February 2019. The app has over 50,000 unique users and an app store rating of 4.2.


Public engagement

Researchers have engaged the public by using the feedback from app users to create a high priority list of changes to make to the app to ensure responsive and ongoing improvement and usability. App users frequently praises the usefulness of the app for understanding and limiting the consumption of alcohol. Drink Less now consistently appears in the top results for ‘alcohol’ searches in the iTunes app store.

National policy impact

As a result of the research, the Drink Less app was used as a case study for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Evidence Standards Framework for Digital Health Technologies to demonstrate how the framework could be used in practice.




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