www.yourHealth.gov.au, operated by the Health Reform Taskforce in the Department of Health and Ageing, was developed to provide Australians with a way to contribute their stories, views and ideas regarding improving the Australian health system to the Government.
The website provides a single web 2.0 platform for online community consultation across three major reports on Health Reform, A Healthier Future For All Australians: the Final Report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission; Building a 21st Century Primary Health Care System: A Draft of Australia's First National Primary Health Care Strategy; and Australia: The Healthiest Country by 2020 – National Preventative Health Strategy.
Without the yourHealth website, there was no easy way to conduct a collective discussion with Australians, building on the three reports to collect community views across all areas of health reform.
The website is a benchmark in Australian Government consultation. Rather than offering a single engagement approach, yourHealth provides an integrated set of formal and informal consultation tools built on web 2.0 principles. This supports a ladder of community participation from simply reading and reflecting on the recommendations in the reports, sharing links with others, voting in quick polls and blog posts, responding with comments and views or telling their own health story. To encourage participation yourHealth uses online announcement tools including Twitter, RSS and email announcements, as well as cross-linking from other health-related sites.
The consultation tools have been developed by the Department to be reusable and extensible – a capability that will reduce future administrative burdens and streamline any further stakeholder or community engagements the Government or Department may wish to hold.
This type of innovative online community consultation capability has not previously existed within the Australia government and currently offers a unique internal capability for the Department.