Australian government health minister, Tanya Plibersek, has unveiled a US$4.9 million (AUD$4.9 million) internet National Health Services Directory – with information downloads now available from smart phones or Android devices.
This National Health Services Directory (NHSD) offers free information to patients about local health services – while supporting anywhere, anytime nationwide coverage.
The NHSD is being developed using national and emerging international standards. The project draws on an earlier Victorian Human Services Directory and other directories available around Australia.
Supporting health services “on the go,” the on-line directory details the addresses, opening times and phone numbers of GP clinics, pharmacies, emergency departments and hospitals across towns and cities.
Once an on-line search is made, services in any given geographic area can be viewed on a Google map. Free downloads are tailored for mobile devices.
So far, the directory contains some 14,000 service records that have been checked for accuracy by the Commonwealth’s new primary care network of Medicare Locals.
This on-line access is being expanded over the next 12 months. Enhancements feature more detailed information, covering additional types of health services, including allied health providers.
“Every parent knows that a trip to the doctor or the emergency department is much more difficult when you’re not familiar with the area or need to find help in the evening,” Minister Plibersek said.
“This new internet directory is easy to use and will save people who need fast access to medical care an enormous amount of time and trouble.”
Information such as languages spoken, whether they bulk bill, whether new patients are accepted and prerequisites/referral criteria are being added.
The directory builds on and consolidates a range of regional healthcare directories. The aim is to provide more detailed and integrated information.
Information about public and private health sector providers encompass all Australian states and territories.
This service is spearheaded by the National Health Call Centre Network on behalf of, and with the support of, all Australian governments.
Information on offer includes service types and location; opening hours; languages spoken; and information about bulk billing.
Partner organisations for this service include the Government of South Australia, Department of Health and Ageing, Department of Health (Western Australia), SA Health, and the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).