Did you know that…
- over 80% of Australians seek health information online – the majority are looking for information about diseases and symptoms
- close to 40% of Australians look for health information for self-treatment online.*
With so many people accessing health information online it's important that the information they are accessing is safe, relevant and trustworthy, which is why we have developed the healthdirect Symptom checker.
What is the healthdirect Symptom checker?
The healthdirect Symptom checker is an online tool for consumers to check their symptoms and find trusted information and advice on what to do next.
The healthdirect Symptom checker is not a:
- diagnostic tool
- substitute for professional health care
- an alternative to seeing a GP.
The healthdirect Symptom checker is not designed to compete with GP consultations or other face-to-face services. It's an adjunct and support to these.
How does the healthdirect Symptom checker support GPs?
The healthdirect Symptom checker supports GPs by increasing health literacy of patients about their situation before attending their GP appointments. Evidence shows that increased health literacy for patients results in better outcomes for the GP and patient.
The final output of each Symptom checker includes a print out of the patient’s answers to the questions along with evidence-based self-care advice. This can be reviewed and assist triage by GPs and practice nurses. The self-care information acts as both a prompt and a memory aid for GPs and patients during and after a consultation.
How does the healthdirect Symptom checker support patients?
The healthdirect Symptom checker provides evidence-based information and advice which helps to triage consumers to the most appropriate entry point in the health system, based on their health issue. Patients can feel very uncertain about 'what to do next', including seeking medical advice and treatment even when they need it, and the healthdirect Symptom checker facilitates this decision making process.
The healthdirect Symptom checker combined with the high quality data from the National Health Services Directory (NHSD) ensures that if a patient is advised to seek medical attention, the site(s) at which this help is available will be open and capable of dealing with the medical issues.
Who developed the healthdirect Symptom checker?
The healthdirect Symptom checker is developed in collaboration with the NHS and an Australian Clinical Panel including GPs and other medical specialists, to ensure that the information is safe, accurate and relevant to Australians in our unique health care system.
Ongoing development of the Symptom checker
We would welcome feedback on any additional symptoms that could be included.
* Market research conducted by Objective Digital in June 2013.
Last reviewed: April 2016