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One stop shops – more like a mall!

One stop shop
5 September 2016

The health landscape is changing at a rapid rate.

MSA has become aware of the rise of the ‘one stop (health) shop’ – multiple online sites for health and chronic illness information.

This could be due to the many people ‘internet (net) surfing’ for health and medical information.

A recent NPS MedicineWise* media release points to a new survey where 78% of Australians report that they look for medicine information on the net, 58% admitted they will sometimes or always look up online information about health conditions to avoid going to see a health professional, rising to 79% in 18-34 year olds.

It’s a busy space, more like a mall than a ‘one-stop shop’!

A combination of government, private and health insurance funded sites, these portals claim to be places to find out everything you need to know – quickly and easily.

MSA is not endorsing these sites, rather we’re keen to raise awareness and keep an eye on their progress. We’re here to help people navigate their way around but reiterate, it’s important you see and discuss health or medical information with your neurologist.

In a mall it’s easy to become lost or overwhelmed by volume of choice, and hard to know where to start.

MSA thought it might be helpful to share some links. Some examples follow below.

Whilst these sites are general, not MS-specific, some refer to MS if you search or filter. (We may do a similar exercise with MS sites in a few weeks). For MS-specific information, please refer to MS Australia and our state member websites.

A site to search and compare local healthcare providers, reviews and book appointments - ‘like TripAdvisor but for health care’. Whitecoat’s joint venture partners are health insurers, nib, Bupa and HBF and aims for “Australians (to) have greater control over their health care”.

Whitecoat has over 210,000 health care professionals listed Australia-wide, across 25 different provider types (such as Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioners, Dentists and Nutritionists) and is expanding to also include medical specialists, doctors and hospitals. (It appears there are no Neurologists listed yet). A key feature is over 250,000 moderated ‘service experience’ reviews from ‘real users’ (provider clinical expertise or quality of clinical care assessments aren’t allowed).

Healthdirect Australia
A federal government-owned, not-for-profit organisation, information and advisory site. Established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to deliver telehealth and digital health services, and help address key priorities and challenges within the health, ageing and social service sectors.

The site aims to help consumers manage their health by leveraging technology to enable timely access to health and related services, including a National Health Services Directory, Video Call and a healthdirect app.

Mind Health Connect
Mental health and wellbeing information, support and services from leading Australian health providers. Supported by the Australian Government, mindhealthconnect provides information from participating government, community, private and other partners including beyondblue, ACT Government Health, ‘OCD? Not me’, the federal government’s National Health and Medical Research Council and Sane Australia.

The website aggregates mental health resources and content from leading health focused organisations in Australia. Visitors to the site (the public and health professionals) can access broad mental health resources including online programs, fact sheets, audio and video, and online communities.

Mindhealthconnect is operated by Healthdirect Australia, on behalf of the Australian Federal Government as part of the National E-Mental Health Strategy.

Better Health Channel
A Victorian State government site, Better Health Channel provides health and medical information with the aim of:

  • Improving individual and community health and wellbeing
  • Helping people understand and manage their health and medical conditions.

The site states it doesn’t replace care provided by medical practitioners and other qualified health professionals. It is fully funded by the state government, with no commercial advertising or corporate sponsorship.
Another national site, ReachOut is an online mental health organisation for young people, which aims to provide practical support to help them get through “everything from everyday issues to tough times”.

ReachOut provides online tools to address youth mental health and reduce youth suicide and has a facility to help parents and carers improve young people’s mental health and wellbeing within their family environment.

Apparently the site is accessed by 110,000 Australians monthly (over 1.31 million annually). Principal partners are Suncorp Group and Brighter Futures – community giving, and the Federal Government Department of Health.

The Health& site states it’s “your personal health companion for life. We help manage you and your family’s health”. An online portal (you provide an email address and create an account password) where you can:

  • Access health checks, which assess your risk for common health conditions
  • Set up personalised health reminders for vaccinations, mammograms and other medical appointments
  • Store health records safely
  • Ask common health questions
  • Search medically-accurate and engaging health information.

Built by Australian doctors and supported by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Health& is privately-funded (but not funded by or affiliated with the pharmaceutical industry). It’s designed for people to store and control family health records and has an extensive FAQ page.

*NPS MedicineWise
An independent Australian not-for-profit and evidence-based organisation which aims to improve our national health and includes how medicine technologies, medicines and medical tests are prescribed and used.

NPS works with health professionals, consumers, government and industry on the quality use of medicines and medical tests. The site aims for Australians to be ‘medicinewise’ and reap the resultant health and economic benefits.

NPS MedicineWise works across Australia and throughout the Asia-Pacific to positively change the attitudes and behaviours which exist around the use of medicines and medical tests, so that consumers and health professionals make the best decisions when it counts.

A peak health, medical and consumer membership organisation NPS is funded by the Federal Government Department of Health.


Patients Like Me
A health information website where people share personal stories and health data about their conditions to help uncover “great ideas and new knowledge….and find answers to the questions you have”.  The site aims to help you:

  • Know detailed information about every medication, supplement, or device used to treat patients like you and learn about what works
  • Connect with patients with the same condition, or the same symptoms or using similar treatments
  • Learn from patients like you.

The site also “partner(s) in real time with doctors, researchers and companies to improve understanding of conditions and accelerate the development of new treatments”.

Have your say!

  • What do you think of these one-stop health sites?
  • Do you have personal experience?

Contact MSA via email: or call 1300 010 158