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Australia’s largest not-for-profit private health insurer, HCF, has launched its new-generation wellness portal, coinciding with a new survey commissioned by the company which it says shows Australians have become more proactive in managing their health.

HCF commissioned Pure Profile to undertake the survey of more than 1,000 people to coincide with the relaunch of its web-based service, My Health Guardian, with key enhancements to help members to improve their health and wellbeing.

HCF’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Andrew Cottrill, said the new My Health Guardian portal provided a “wealth of clinically appropriate resources” to support people seeking advice on their health and wellbeing, and provided “personalised programs to drive improvements in exercise, diet and healthy lifestyle behaviours.” He said information and tools on the wellness portal reflected Australian clinical guidelines and international best practice for health and wellbeing.

The relaunch also includes integrated iPhone and Android applications designed to help users proactively manage their health through features such as a ‘Daily Challenge’, which Dr Cottrill said motivated users to take incremental positive steps in managing a healthy lifestyle. Portal users are supported by qualified exercise physiologists and dieticians.

According to Dr Cottrill, almost 60 percent of respondents to the survey said they now preferred to try new programs to improve their health, while 35 percent had become “more adventurous” in their choice of health programs over the last five years.

“It is clear to us that many of our members are becoming more actively engaged in their own health, but are not sure about how to use that information to start making positive and ongoing changes to their health and wellbeing.”

Dr Cottrill said My Health Guardian helped bridge the gap between information and action, with member’s health assessments generating “personalised and supported action plans.”

The survey found that while the family doctor remained the major port of call for people seeking primary care, many Australians are supplementing the expert advice of their GP with additional information sources. Key findings of the study include:

•    Almost two thirds (62%) of respondents said they searched the internet to resolve a health query

•    Almost one in five (19%) study magazines to research a health condition, while 17% use TV or radio

•    Three in ten ask friends, while slightly more (32%) turn to family. 

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Peter Dinham

 

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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