Better Health Channel iPhone & iPad app - Victorian Department of Health
Victorian Department of Health
Multiple team members from the Victorian Department of Health - Digital Services and Strategy Unit and Deloitte Digital Melbourne
Since 1999 the Better Health Channel has provided health consumers with quality assured, reliable and easy to understand information and has consistently been ranked Australia's No.1 health and medical information website.
A logical extension of that success resulted in the development of the Better Health Channel iPhone and iPad app which empowers health consumers to take control of their health and wellbeing anywhere anytime.
The app raises consumer literacy about health conditions and their management, thereby leading to more informed and confident health decisions. It also provides convenient location based discovery to an extensive range of Victorian health service providers.
In a 2011 online study , health and medical information seeking was ranked amongst the top ten activities performed by Australians with nearly 75% of the population going online to find information specific to their circumstances. This finding translates directly to mobile with health apps ranked amongst the top ten categories of most useful and used mobile phone and tablet PC applications.
Amongst the various determinants of health, a key input and enabler is access to timely quality health information and services. As the most personal technology we own, mobile was therefore identified as a key channel to:
- empower Victorians to manage their own health and wellbeing, and/or that of those close to them more effectively
- improve health literacy amongst Victorians and help them make better informed health decisions, and
- enable anywhere, anytime access to reliable health information and services.
The Better Health Channel app places in the palms of people's hands reliable and vital health information and conveniently connects them with an extensive range of relevant local health service providers such as doctors, dentists, pharmacists and physios whenever the need arises.
Quality Information is power and the app extends the quality of information provided by the Better Health Channel to empower consumers in the management of their health and those close to them, thereby contributing to a reduction in costs to the health system.
Project Innovation / Need
Health and wellbeing are influenced by the places in which people live, learn, work and play. Engaging with individuals and families in these settings and in meaningful ways is often one of the most effective ways to enable people to make decisions that improve their health status and reduce their risk of ill-health .
The online environment and mobile specifically is one such setting that has important implications for access to health information and improved health literacy and behaviours.
For over a decade now the Better Health Channel has been helping improve the health literacy of all Victorians by providing quality assured, trusted, and easy to understand health information and is today considered Australia's pre-eminent consumer health and medical website.
While there are a range of medical apps in the market place none are comparable to the breadth, depth and reliability of information provided by the Better Health Channel app.
In addition to this, the app directly addresses increasing individual and community interest in sourcing quality health information and services on the go anytime, anywhere whenever the need arises.
The app extends the reach and convenience of access to health information and services which in turn contributes to a healthier community and a reduction in the cost to the health system.
Central to the success of the app and the achievement of a 4.5 star user rating has been a number of key elements including:
- an intuitive user interface which adopts Apples user experience guidelines
- input of BHC user research findings about consumer health information preferences including digital channels
- extensive market research into best in class iOS health and medical apps and
- robust and seemless front and back end technical integration.
Combined these elements deliver a fast, intuitive and logical flow of information to users. This is reflected in the app being downloaded by approx 75,000 individuals, receiving Apple Appstore acclaim and an overall 4.5 star user rating against 90 reviews - a number of which are provided as follows:
"Brilliant app Lots of excellent info" BHC user
"Excellent app really good source of information and facts, everyone should download this" Freyja76
"Love it! This app is great for me as I do live in Victoria. Very helpful info!! Thank you!!!" elijohnston1990
"Really useful. I live in NSW but this app came up as recommended from genius because of another app I have. It's great - loads of useful straeight forward info that is helpful and easy to understand" Sylvis21
"Great app. Very useful, detailed info, and very user friendly" Cindicate
"Very good app with lots of useful information" Clarkey12
"I have already found this application to be useful. Should be standard issue on all iPads" Alan Eckstein
"Great resource. Very easy to use. Thanks!" Cv06
Launched by the Victorian Minister for Health in September 2011, the app was promoted via a diverse range of low/no cost online and offline networks and channels including government department websites, health service communication channels, radio, press and digital media.
Promotion also leveraged high visitation to the Better Health Channel website and included a specific landing page and links to promotion materials, key features and benefits and the Apple store.
On day 2 of its release, the app was the number 1 free app in the Apple app store medical category and by day 6 was the number 12 iPad app and number 47 iphone app amongst both free and paid apps in the Appstore.
Since its launch, the app has been downloaded by approx 75,000 individuals and received Apple app store acclaim - including being featured in Apple's new and noteworthy and staff picks and the best apps of 2011 App store rewind program.
The app has also been featured by the Herald Sun and MX Magazine as a top 5 app and has received a range of positive endorsements amongst the health sector both in Victoria and throughout Australia.
Currently the app has a 4.5 star rating against nearly 90 reviews and is amongst the top 20 free applications in the app store medical category.