New Zealand launches health advice mobile app Thursday, 26 September 2013

Residents of New Zealand can now access health advice for free with the new Healthline Symptom Checker mobile app.

This new app, available in the iTunes store, is offered by the Ministry of Health to compliment its Healthline national telephone triage and health service, providing an alternative and convenient channel to access health information.

Explaining the features of the app, Health Minister, Tony Ryall, said, "People can enter their symptoms by either selecting the area on a body map or searching by name from a list, such as leg injury. They will then be provided with suggested courses of action."

The course of action would be suggested based on the type of illness/injury and the severity of the symptoms. Advice provided by the app could range from information to manage the condition at home, visiting a doctor within 24 hours or even calling an ambulance.

The Minister added, "When you download the symptom checker you can add your General Physician's phone number. If the suggested course of action is phone your doctor you can do it with a push of a button through the phone app."

This app was developed by Medibank, an Australian private health insurance provider, and was adapted from an Australian version of the app.

The Ministry of Health recently announced that the country will have a new national telehealth system by the end of 2014, aiming for a more comprehensive and an improved quality of service.