$10m ad campaign for Medicare and PCEHR begins

The federal government has launched its long-awaited advertising campaign for the PCEHR, airing new television commercials spruiking it as part of a “Medicare For All” promotion that also includes information on Medicare Locals and the after-hours GP helpline.

The existence of money for the campaign was revealed in the May budget, when $10 million was allocated over two years for a national communications campaign about the benefits of Medicare and health-related services.

$6.5 million has been allocated for this financial year – of which there are three weeks left – while another $3.5 million has been set aside for 2013-2014.

The TV ad directs viewers to a website, www.australia.gov.au/medicare, which in turn redirects to Medicare For All. This site features a series of four animated videos – one on Medicare itself, one on the eHealth record system, one on the after-hours GP helpline, and one on Medicare Locals.

Without mentioning the term PCEHR, the video explains the basics of an eHealth record and directs interested consumers to the ehealth.gov.au website, where they can sign up for a PCEHR.

“Your record and the eHealth system will grow over time,” the ad says. “As the system develops, more of your health care information can be added by the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals you see, resulting in better connected and more efficient care for you.”

The site tells consumers that to register for an eHealth record, they will need their Medicare card, their address as recorded by Medicare, details of their last visit to a doctor where they made a Medicare claim, and their bank account details if Medicare benefits go straight into the bank.

These instructions appear to be in response to the notoriously difficult online registration process.

Department of Health and Ageing representatives were grilled on the campaign at a Senate Estimates committee hearing in Canberra last week, but were unable to provide details of what the campaign involved as it had yet to be given the final go-ahead by the Minister for Health.

Adam Davey, acting first assistant secretary for DoHA's people, capability and communication division, told the committee that the campaign had been assessed by the Independent Communications Committee (ICC), which has oversight of any proposed government advertising campaigns valued at more than $250,000.

Mr Davey said the ICC had considered the campaign on three occasions last month and had approved it as complying with the 2010 guidelines on information and advertising campaigns by Australian government departments and agencies, which ensure that government information campaigns are not for party political purposes.

The Medicare For All website also explains the basics of Medicare Locals, and provides a link to a map of the 61 MLs around the country. The map is hosted on the Rural and Regional Health Australia website, which provides a large amount of data such as MBS, PBS and PIP statistics for the ML area, GP workforce statistics, and Australian Health Survey data.

The website also provides a link to the National Health Services Directory.

Posted in Australian eHealth


0 # AJ Jack 2013-06-11 14:43
Great. Medicare advertising Meidcare Locals. Now the MLs will get even more people ringing and calling in trying to get their rebates.
At least five times a day we are telling people we are completely different organisations. This just confuses the public even more.
0 # NGO Staff 2013-06-20 11:14
I was under the impression that you weren't allowed to use a Red Cross in advertising - especially when it is on a white background like in the Medicare eHealth ad.
Also, where is the PCEHR branding? Or even Medicare Local branding? Why is it all using Medicare branding - just to confuse people?

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