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Vaccine Clinic Finder transitioned to healthdirect Service Finder

Vaccine Clinic Finder, which assisted Australians to find and book COVID-19 vaccines and was used over 52m times since 2021, has been retired and COVID-19 vaccination bookings are available in the refreshed healthdirect Service Finder.
Both digital tools were built and operated by Healthdirect Australia as the public websites for searching the National Health Services Directory to find information on available health services.

The project to migrate COVID-19 vaccination services to healthdirect Service Finder included the expansion of connectivity with online booking providers so users can click-to-book a broader range of clinical appointments, including COVID and flu vaccines. This infrastructure has been designed to ensure scalability and support for future emergent health needs.

“The Vaccine Clinic Finder played a critical role during the pandemic to help consumers access vaccines and ease the administrative burden on busy vaccination clinics. I’m pleased to see this capability transitioned to enduring national infrastructure so that consumers can conveniently find and book a broader range of health services,” says Ian Vaile, Chief Customer Officer, Healthdirect Australia.

The newly launched healthdirect Service Finder also enables users to find and make an online booking for their flu vaccination with the nearest or most convenient clinic or make a usual GP appointment.
The healthdirect Service Finder provides information on over 300,000 health services including, 8,000 COVID-19 vaccine services, 7,900 flu vaccination clinics at pharmacies and GPs, 7,800 general practices and over 300 other searchable health service types, including allied health services.
Healthdirect Australia launched the healthdirect Service Finder in 2015 and it helps nearly 800,000 people per month find the right care at the right time.

Functionality and enhancements for upgraded healthdirect Service Finder

During the process of combining the Vaccine Clinic Finder and healthdirect Service Finder, Healthdirect Australia took the opportunity to upgrade the usability of the healthdirect Service Finder.
Users can filter the search results by preferences such as bulk-billing, telehealth appointments, wheelchair accessibility and opening times.
The website has been optimised for use with screen readers and features other accessibility enhancements such as fuzzy search (incorrect spelling) and synonym search (type ‘eye doctor’ instead of ‘ophthalmologist’) to remove barriers to finding the right service type.
As per the Vaccine Clinic Finder, healthdirect Service Finder is now translated into 15 languages.
Online booking functionality and real-time appointment availability information is now available for GPs, COVID vaccination and flu vaccination services. The framework supports online bookings for other service types in the future.
Health literacy principles have been built into the usability of the tool and user tested. A guided search functionality, assisting users looking for a COVID vaccination or GP appointment, is designed to connect consumers to services which best suit their individual needs and provide them additional health information and advice along the way.

Government, industry and user co-design

This project involved uplifting the healthdirect Service Finder to a modernised technology platform that offers improved consumer experiences for people accessing and navigating a complex health system.
Healthdirect Australia undertook considerable consultation with the medtech industry to co-design the integrated software solutions, ensuring it is fit for purpose and enables seamless online booking across different service types.
This work builds on the foundational progress made during the pandemic to create seamless digital journeys and the transition will ensure long-term sustainability and enable benefits more broadly across the health system.
The tool is accessible via the healthdirect website and the healthdirect Symptom Checker, helping people to find the right type of medical help when it’s needed. The online booking function empowers consumers to bridge the next connection between advice and information to take action towards better health. Online bookings also reduce administrative pressure on clinics fielding calls about appointments.
“This is another example of how working together we can create a national tool that benefits users, health providers, our medtech partners and achieve the health goals of health departments,” says Mr Vaile.

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