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Something very strange happened to me at the weekend and it wasn’t just because there was a full moon. I actually agreed with something a politician said. I must admit, it doesn’t happen very often, but I actually found myself cheering from the sidelines in fierce agreement with the Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek.

Launching a new campaign to education parents about the benefits of immunising their children, she blamed “Google medicine” as a factor in some parents choosing not to vaccinate their kids.

She said Dr Google could “not be trusted with a child’s health” and had, in some cases, been a “negative influence”. Hear, hear!!!!

While the Internet is a great tool for research – the one thing that you can’t beat is the safety and assurance provided by the knowledge and experience of a real consultation with a real healthcare practitioner.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Internet. In fact, I have a confession to make. I love technology. I love the latest gadgets and gizmos. I love the pace of change and love the endless possibilities it provides and new conveniences it brings my busy life. I’ve spent my professional years working with technology companies. It’s why I’ve stuck my neck on the line and set up 1stavailable.com.au. I believe in the power of the Internet, its resilience and its longevity. It’s just that when it comes to professional medical expertise, I’d rather rely on a real human being, rather than engaging the powers of “Dr Google”.

1stavailable.com.au is changing the way Australians access healthcare services – forever. The same way that Wotif.com, carsales.com.au, Realestate.com.au and Seek.com changed the way we now book accommodation, buy cars, look for property and find jobs. I couldn’t imagine life without those conveniences anymore. I doubt any of us could. We’re using the power of the Internet and smartphone technology to literally put your healthcare in the palm of your hands.

1stavailable.com.au is a 24/7 online portal for finding and booking healthcare appointments instantly, using any web-connected device. Consumers can now track down available appointments, including last minute cancellations, with registered dentists, GPs, physiotherapists, chiropractors and other allied health services, at times and locations that best suit them. Who hasn’t needed peace of mind when their kids are sick at night? With this new platform, worried parents can log on and grab the first available appointment the next morning.

The healthcare industry has traditionally been slow to integrate non-medical technology into its services, which have transformed other industries such as accommodation and retail. Booking appointments with healthcare providers is still frustrating and time-consuming for both patients and practitioners. But times are changing, no more using the telephone to make an appointment during the opening hours of the practice and my busy working day. 1stavailable.com.au finally brings the healthcare industry up to speed with the wireless world. We are driven by our goal is to make healthcare more accessible and convenient to all Australians.

And don’t just take my word for it. Talk to the thousands of healthcare practitioners nationwide who’ve signed up to the platform and are publishing their vacant appointments online and happily accepting bookings from both their existing and new patients. Talk to any of the thousands of Australians who’ve registered to use and have used the site.

Look at Medicross in Queensland as one example. It’s the fastest growing healthcare practice group in the country. At last count, they had 17 practices stretching from the Sunshine Coast, through to Brisbane and the Gold Coast. According to Charles Jewaskiewitz, Managing Director of Medicross Medical, the latest innovations in healthcare practice technology ensure that patients experience increased convenience and accessibility.

He says that “1stavailable.com.au ensures both new and existing patients have the convenience and flexibility of booking an appointment with their preferred practitioner without relying on already burdened practice management staff”. He adds “no other online healthcare appointment booking service does this the way they do.”

Of the many patients who’ve used our service and contacted us, Abigail from the ACT perhaps sums it up best. She told us, “I tried to book an appointment with a recommended dentist but couldn’t get an appointment until January (one month later). I used 1stavailable.com.au and I was able to get an appointment for that day! I’ve already told my friends how easy it was.”

But we still have a lot of work to do. We need many more healthcare providers to understand that they are making accessing their services unecessaily hard. It should be easy. It should be online. And we need all Australian’s to vote for the desired convenience of booking their healthcare services online. They cast their vote by signing up to 1stavailable.com.au. The more people that do this, the more we can send a strong signal to all healthcare providers that being able to book online or via the 1stavailable.com.au mobile apps is our strong preference.

So next time a politician opens their mouth to talk about healthcare – I promise to actually take the time to at least give them a go. They might be on to something.

Klaus Bartosch – Executive Chairman, 1stavailable.com.au


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