CENTRAL Queensland will be the home of an Australia-first app which will allow people to book doctor's appointments online.
In a bid to provide easier access to primary health services, CQ Medicare Local has secured funding for the online service provider directory and booking system.
The CQ healthsearch app was the brainchild of Tracey Siddins, CQ Medicare Local marketing and communications manager.
"In engaging with community and health care providers across Central Queensland... there was a consistent message that an up-to-date health service directory was desperately needed," she said.
The app will cover the areas surrounding Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast, Emerald, Biloela, Gladstone.
With an aim to reduce the number of non-urgent patients presenting at hospital emergency departments during GP opening hours, CQ Medicare Local have initiated talks with Queensland Health to install healthsearch app kiosks in major emergency departments.
This will allow non-urgent patients to search and book appointments with GPs.
Jean McRuvie, CEO of CQ Medicare Local, said she was thrilled about the positive impact the app would have on the region.
"We see this as much more than just a website," she said. "It is a holistic online health application with a real propensity to change people's lives."
Michelle Johns, practice manager of Rockhampton's Mandalay Medical Centre, believes the app will help patients and doctors.
She hoped having people book online and receive confirmation via text would reduce the number of people who didn't show up for appointments.
Cancellations would be displayed on the app, opening new appointments for other people.
"The benefits are just unbelievable," Michelle said.
"The patients are going to have more flexibility and they're going to be able to choose their own doctor (in the practice)."
Michelle said the cost and time involved in creating an app by themselves would have been "astronomical".
The app is expected to be fully operational by October.
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