- Category: Internet
23 Jul 2012
- Written by Stephen Fenech
A new web-based booking system that has the potential to revolutionise the Australian healthcare system has just been launched.
1stavailable.com.au is the brainchild of Dr Rick Luu who sold his successful Gold Coast dental practice to set up the site.
It allows patients to quickly find doctors and appointment times that suit them to avoid lengthy waits and also quickly find a practitioner in an emergency.
The site also helps fill appointment times created by last-minute cancellations.
Dr Luu based 1stavailable.com.au on the model adopted by Wotif.com – the site which completely changed last minute hotel room bookings.
Already more than 1100 medical practitioners have already subscribed to 1stavailable.com.au’s online booking service which is free for patients to use.
Dr Luu said his goal with 1stavailable.com.au was to fix an Australian healthcare system in crisis.
“When I started practicing at Hervey Bay in Queensland, there was a public waiting list for dental treatment of from three to six years,” Dr Luu said.
“If you could afford to see a private dentist, an emergency appointment could take up to six months.
“And this crisis is not confined to dentistry. Every week, throughout Australia, patients from overflowing doctors’ waiting lists are turning up at hospital A&E wards - putting further pressure on the healthcare system.
“The nub of the problem is that supply is not meeting demand. Unaddressed, it is a problem that will only get worse, with the growing demand for healthcare services from the wave of ageing baby boomers.”
But 1stavailable.com.au makes it easier for patients to find a doctor and an appointment time.
“Although there is hidden capacity in the system, it’s difficult for people to find it. Access is the first step to receiving any healthcare treatment - it doesn’t matter if 100 doctors are available if you can’t find them,” Dr Luu said.
“This problem is addressed by applying proven online approaches from other industries to help patients locate and book healthcare appointments with doctors, dentists and allied professionals.
“In this way, we can spread the demand load across all available healthcare appointments, which can make a big start towards solving the crisis in healthcare access.”
A recent survey conducted by 1stavailable.com.au showed time was the important factor for patients followed by location and the practitioner’s reputation.
These results reflect the value 1stavailable.com.au can offer both patients and doctors alike.