Need to find a health service in BC? Use the BC Health Service Locator!
This is with out a doubt one of the best and most meaningful projects I’ve worked on as a public servant.
The BC Health Service Locator is an iPhone app that helps citizens find walk in clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms, immunization locations, and after-hours pharmacies near you. You can search for health services by city or keyword.
This video demos its functionality. It’s also my first debut as a hand model 😉
Features of the app include
- Finding health service locations, including filtering your results to show specific health services.
- Viewing a location’s service description, hours of operation, and contact information.
- Easy access to call 8-1-1 to access non-emergency health information and services from anywhere in B.C.
- Viewing the latest health alerts posted on HealthLink BC’s site from within the App.
What made this project so special?
The opportunity to be involved with the production of the first native mobile app built within the BC Public Service for citizens gave this project extra meaning. As a technology advocate and a mobile enthusiast, this was a big win back in 2009/10. I should also note, that myself, and the other two volunteers on this project, developed this app on our own time.
Why? We believed that providing a government service, like where to find a walk in clinic, through a mobile app, was a good idea. But this was 2009/10 and we needed to prove it – we needed to set a president for other services to follow.
My contribution to this project included:
- User interface design – working out how users would interact with this app
- Design – how it looks and feels
- Content – content other than what is pulled directly from HealthLinkBC
- App Marketing – developing the communications strategy and building the relationships to get this app into the hands (or phones) of citizens
To date the app has received over 10,000 downloads.
I should also note that part of this project also included updating HealthLinkBC’s service locator data for use with the app, and also to be contributed to the BC Government’s Data Catalog. You can find that data at Data.gov.bc.ca. If you are working on an app that is using this (or other BC Open Data), I’m interested in hearing about it.
I’m a strong believer the role technology has in improving healthcare efficiency, and I feel this app is a small small step towards improving service efficiency in the health field. It’s a part of something I feel governments should be doing… providing citizens with health tools and resources to take charge of their own health needs when they want to.
I hope through health technology we can free up resources, and unnecessary in-person time investments to be re-allocated for where they are needed most.