Health Check

Our top COVID-19 apps

Social distancing, contact tracking and practising good hygiene have helped Australia flatten the curve, but new technology is going to keep us on top of it.

Written by Editor Medibank

A team of researchers at Deakin University in Victoria, with the support of Medibank’s Better Health Foundation, have evaluated the range of COVID-19 related apps available in the Australian market. They looked at over 135 apps related to COVID-19 and assessed them based on key criteria, this included that all information be medically sound, that research be validated, that the app feature good functionality, adhere to ethics and be user friendly.

Of the apps evaluated by Deakin there were four apps that rated the highest on their evaluation framework:

  • COVIDSafe
  • Health Direct
  • Coronavirus Australia
  • MyAus COVID-19

COVIDSafe

Let’s talk about COVIDSafe first. Released by the Australian Health Department, the COVIDSafe app is a contact tracking tool designed to slow the spread of the virus. While it’s completely voluntary to download, the more people who connect to it, the more effective it will be.

Downloading the app is straightforward, you will need to provide your name, mobile number, postcode and an age range. The system will then create a unique, encrypted reference code to identify you.

To be effective, you’ll need to have the app running and Bluetooth enabled as you go about your day.

How it works COVIDSafe recognises other devices who also have it installed and notes the date, time, distance and duration of the contact.

If someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, health officials will ask them for permission to access this information, which will be uploaded to a secure storage system. The health officials can then use the information to:

  • Use the contacts captured by the app to support their standard contact tracking procedures.
  • Call people to let them know they may have been exposed.
  • Offer advice on next steps such as what to look out for, how and where to get tested and what to do to protect further people from exposure.

It’s important to note that officials or the app will not name the person who was originally infected.

You can read about the COVIDSafe app’s privacy features here.

Why it’s important In order to return safely to our normal routines, we need to increase the community’s ability to track and contain any future outbreaks. COVIDSafe does exactly that; by tracking the possible movements of the virus and helping alert people who’ve been in close contact with it.

If you haven’t already downloaded COVIDSafe you can do so for FREE here.

Healthdirect

This app has been designed to help you manage your overall health. It was produced before COVID-19 and will continue after and is a handy tool to help you find services near you, discover health related information, check your symptoms, look up details about medications and more. In response to the coronavirus pandemic healthdirect has added more functions including:

  • General COVID-19 health information.
  • Advice on actions to take (self-isolate, social distancing etc).
  • COVID-19 specific symptom checker.

You can download the healthdirect app for FREE here.

Coronavirus Australia

This is another Government app that was produced to help Australians stay updated on all COVID-19 related information. It shares the same symptom checker interface with healthdirect so you can also use it to check your symptoms. While the healthdirect app is to help you manage your health, this one is more about providing important COVID-19 related information such as:

  • The latest official information and important COVID-19 updates.
  • Simple advice depending on your symptoms (i.e. self-isolation, social distancing, seek medical assistance).
  • Official COVID-19 case numbers.
  • Links to official government website for more information.

You can download the Coronavirus Australia app for FREE here.

MyAus COVID-19

The last of the apps highlighted in the Deakin study is MyAus COVID-19. This app has been developed by the Migration Council Australia and is a great option for people who may not speak English as their first language. With MyAus Covid-19 users can stay informed on all COVID-19 related news and information in the language they require. The app features:

  • The latest official news and important COVID-19 updates.
  • Information on how to access the Australian healthcare system and Medicare.
  • Symptom checker.
  • Health and lifestyle links.
  • Details on how to get tested and what to do if you test positive.
  • Large choice of languages.

You can download the MyAus COVID-19 app for FREE on the App Store or Google Play.

Medibank Live Better

Medibank also has our own health and wellbeing app called Live Better^. While this is not COVID-19 specific, we have updated it to feature Live Better at Home, a hub of information, tips and online classes to help Australians eat, move and feel better during this time. You can download the app here.

Want to know more about COVID-19?

Visit the Australian Government’s Department of Health website.

We’re here to help.

24/7 Medibank Nurse Members with hospital cover* can call our phone service to speak to a Medibank nurse about their health concerns at any time of the day or night. Call 1800 644 325.

Medibank Mental Health Phone Support Members with Hospital cover* can talk with a mental health professional over the phone in relation to any mental health or emotional concern, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Call 1800 644 325.

*OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.


Things you should know

While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date.

Medibank does not endorse or is not affiliated in any way with the COVIDSafe app, Health Direct app, Coronavirus Australia app, and MyAus COVID-19 app. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees).

^Must be 18 years or over and have a valid Australian residential address to register for Medibank Live Better. Must be a Medibank member with hospital cover, extras cover, or hospital and extras cover, be up-to-date with premium payments and have signed up to Medibank Live Better with ‘My Medibank’ or have linked their MyMedibank account with their Live Better account to redeem rewards. Excludes Overseas Visitor health cover, Working Visa health cover, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), Ambulance only cover, ahm covers and other selected covers. Read full Medibank Live Better terms here.

Written by Editor Medibank

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