HealthDirect Australia

Healthdirect Australia is jointly funded by the Council of Australian Governments, providing trusted health advice online for the Australian public. The site is an important part of a national wellness initiative to get people involved in finding health solutions and curbing the high cost of direct care.

To deliver on its commitment to 23 million citizens, Healthdirect Australia’s content, governance, and technical teams collaborate to produce and manage documents, images, and videos that populate the expanding portfolio of websites. With an increasing number of device screens and media types to support, the team sought the efficiency that a cloud-based architecture could offer.

Stringent compliance requirements defined by the Australian Government Information Security Manual (ISM) prohibited Healthdirect Australia from publishing directly to a cloud-based production environment and also did not fit with the intended content production workflow. The team needed a way to remotely publish updates to the live site. Although the team had not used a digital asset management system previously, they suspected that NetX had the functionality to power content production and distribution tasks.


The Solution

Following an extensive search, the Healthdirect Australia team chose NetX for its ability to synchronize media across environments and for its flexible set of APIs. “The open-architecture made NetX easy to adapt. With a strong, stable release history behind the NetX product, we knew we would have the support to develop our project successfully.” says Jaco Olivier, the technical lead on the project.

17 different NetX auto tasks process web production jobs to define image aspect ratios, file types, transcoding rules, and URLs. These actions automatically produce graphics trimmed to fit perfectly into the CMS templates at various screen sizes. Simply “approving” the asset in NetX, initiates the processes to generate anywhere from one to 20 image variations, which are sent to an S3 bucket, dubbed the “Staging” environment.



NetX uses a common taxonomy of folder names and attribute values to apply appropriate naming conventions and deliver derivative files to directories mapped by the CMS. This ensures that every image is the right size and orientation to display correctly across every device display supported by the CMS. It also creates consistency, ensuring that the CMS references only one version of the file, preserving a pristine image folder structure.

A clever journaling system tracks the changes on “Staging” and automatically replicates them onto the “Production” NetX infrastructure, which contain the live site digital assets. Synchronizing the site digital assets in this manner aligns with the content production workflows and also complies with the publishing restrictions. NetX then distributes media assets to the “Production” AWS S3 bucket which serves as origin for the CDN, which reduces load times by distributing files to an edge server nearest the request. Every time NetX creates new asset variations, the CDN cache is invalidated, forcing an automatic refresh.


The Results

The new and fully functional Healthdirect Australia site launched in nine sprints at two week intervals. Using NetX, Healthdirect Australia can now deliver content and features faster with fewer rollbacks. Testing out a new template design is as simple as defining autotasks, setting up the folder structures, then approving an asset. New derivative assets can be deployed within an hour to populate responsive template designs.

Today, NetX generates images for five of the organizations’ websites and the mobile app through approximately 92 auto tasks. In the near future, Healthdirect Australia also plans to utilise the NetX platform to manage video transcoding and distributing the various formats through CDN infrastructure. Combining NetX attribute metadata with the Australian Health Thesaurus, the team has also successfully developed a “semantic web” model for applying unique medical keywords and descriptions to CMS pages.

Healthdirect Australia now has a scalable way to manage growth across all of the agency’s sites, without requiring additional support resources. The team has adopted “continuous delivery” practices to manage project and release workflows concurrently through software and automation. With the efficiency gains in development time, the team is focused on user testing and optimization, ultimately delivering a better experience to people seeking answers. To learn more about NetX, contact us for a demo. To learn more about HealthDirect Australia, visit the websites Healthdirect AustraliaPregnancy, Birth, and Baby, and Mindhealth Connect.

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