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Better Health Channel V2 iPhone & iPad app - Victorian Department of Health [DRAFT]







Project Overview

For over a decade the Better Health Channel (BHC) has been helping improve the health and wellbeing of all Victorians and is regarded as Australia’s pre-eminent consumer health and medical information website with over 30 million visits annually.

Building on this success the department launched the BHC iPhone and iPad app in 2011 to great acclaim and in 2012 released a second iOS version (V2) which has achieved even greater popularity amongst users.

The V2 app provides the full compliment of health information from the Better Health Channel thereby helping health consumers make more informed, timely and confident health decisions.


Victorian Department of Health


Multiple team members from the Victorian Department of Health - Digital Services and Strategy Unit and Deloitte Digital.

Project Brief

Online health and medical information seeking continues to rank amongst the top 10 activities performed by Australians – a finding which is reflected in the popularity of medical applications amongst those citing Government services as their most used mobile apps.

Amongst the various determinants of health, a key input and enabler is access to timely and high quality health information and services - both of which are enhanced via mobility solutions.

In 2011 the Victorian Department of Health launched the V1 BHC mobile app to great industry and consumer acclaim - including winning both the 2012 Australian mobile awards and 2012 Melbourne design awards. The app:

• empowers citizens to more effectively manage their own health and wellbeing;
• improves health literacy amongst Victorians and help them make better informed health decisions, and
• enables anywhere, anytime access to reliable health information and services.

Building on this success and popularity, a second more feature rich version (V2) was developed to address a broader range of government and community health priorities in both prevention and health protection spectrums of care.

Released in November 2012, V2 delivers fast and convenient access to the full complement of healthy living articles, healthy recipes, health services and emergency contacts. In addition, it protects users by allowing them to set up personalised health alerts for extreme weather conditions such as hot weather, UV, smog and pollen.

Since its release, the app has been downloaded over 100,000 times and received glowing user reviews and industry acclaim throughout Australia.

Project Need

Health and wellbeing are in?uenced by the places in which people live, learn, work and play. Engaging with people in these settings is an effective way of assisting them to make decisions that improve their health status and reduce their risk of ill-health.

The online mobile environment has important implications for access to health information in a range of contexts and settings. The BHC V2 app provides citizens with the right information at the right time at the point of need.

In addition to key features from V1 such as ‘find a health service’ which allows users to conveniently locate health service providers anytime, anywhere, V2 includes extensive ‘healthy living’ information on physical activity, healthy weight, health checks and more. The app’s ‘healthy recipes’ function also includes hundreds of nutritious recipes for a range of meal types, dietary preferences (eg gluten free) and lifestyle needs (e.g. low salt). Users can also search by main ingredient, what’s in season and collate a convenient shopping list.

Customised health alerts for heat, UV, smog and pollen ensure users are prepared for extreme weather events. Personal notifications can also be tailored by location and time period and include links to related health information on the Better Health Channel.

With an increasing proportion of the Australian population either overweight or obese (around 60%+), the BHC V2 app assists users to take positive action anytime, anywhere and establish healthy behaviours. This in turn contributes to reductions in costs to the health system.

User Experience

Central to the success of the V2 BHC app has been its utility and ease of use amongst users. This has been achieved through:
• learnings and analysis from the V1 app development,
• rigorous use casing and intuitive design, and
• robust and seemless technical integration.

In addition to the full compliment of health articles, the app includes customisable health alerts for extreme weather and the ability to create healthy recipe shopping lists. All features assist users to take control of their health and wellbeing effortlessly.

The app delivers a fast and functional flow of information which is reflected in over 10000 downloads, appstore acclaim and 4.5 - 5 star user ratings as follows:

Best health app
This app is awesome! Provides you with so much information in health! Has great recipes and provides you with heaps of tips! I love it! – Supernatural18655

Essential app for everyone!
This application is extremely user friendly, containing invaluable information written in a way that is user friendly and straight to the point. You must download this! A must have for everyone, Great initiative Vic Government. Thank you – Unhappy00

Simply wonderful
I don’t usually write reviews, however this app is well worth the time. Simply put, it’s a great app enabling the public to stay aware of health risks and benefits. It’s definitely worth downloading – Halima Ali

Fantastic upgrade
The first version was great, but I love the new upgrade. Sleeker, more functional, and the recipes are awesome. Kudos. - BZ Aus

Project Marketing

Released in December 2012, the app update was promoted via a diverse range of no cost online and offline networks and channels including government department websites, health service communication channels, press and digital media.

Promotion also leveraged high visitation to the Better Health Channel website and included a specific landing page and links to promotional materials including news stories, images and an app demo video.

Prior to the launch date, and to combat audience attention issues around the holiday period, teaser communications via social media channels (facebook and Twitter) encouraged Better Health followers and fans to ‘stay tuned for something new’.

Central to the promotion of the app was a direct mail piece issued to General Practitioners throughout Victoria with relevant promotional materials (A3 poster for the Clinic and A6 notepads in shape of the mobile app for clinic doctors).

Within the first week of launch the app was the number one app with a 5 star rating listed in Apples ‘what’s hot’ in the App store and in the top 3 free apps in the medical category.

Since its launch, the app has been downloaded over 100,000 times and received Apple app store and health consumer and industry acclaim both in Victoria and throughout Australia.

Currently the app has a 4.5 star rating and is consistently amongst the top 3 free applications in the app store medical category.


This category recognises applications developed for all levels of government services.
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