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Australian Government Launches Health App

|Dec 10|magazine7 min read

A free smartphone application that enables users to locate emergency health services, pharmacies, doctors and hospitals all across Australia has been launched by the Federal Government, ComputerworldAustralia reported on Friday.

 The app, which functions on both Android and Apple devices, connects users to the National Health Services Directory and provides the contact information and opening times of these health services, as well as directions there via Google Maps.

Developed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and launched in July, the directory contains approximately 14,000 service records and “will be expanded over the next 12 months to include more detailed information and cover more types of health services, such as allied health providers,” federal health minister Tanya Plibersek said in a media statement.

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These service records have been checked for accuracy by Medicare Locals, a national network of health care organisations.

The directory, a $4.9 million project, is being managed by the National Health Call Centre Network (NHCCN) with funding from COAG. According to the e-health publication Pulse IT Magazine, the directory was designed based on the success of the Victorian Human Services Directory (HSD).

“Using the Victorian model we try to ensure there are consent arrangements there, right down to the fact that at one level, the public needs to know there is a GP surgery across the road and that it’s open, but it’s also useful to know they are not accepting new patients or there are no appointments available,” said NHCCN CIO Anton Donker to Pulse. “Our model is predicated on self-authorship, enabling any service provider [to maintain their details].”

Professor Donker added that the directory is looking to incorporate telehealth practitioners and related service information over the coming months.