Nicknamed "Heals", as a specialist wicketkeeper and useful right-hand middle-order batsman, he made an unheralded entry to international cricket in 1988, after only six first-class games. His work ethic and combativeness was much needed by an Australian team that was performing poorly. Over the next decade, Healy was a key member of the side as it enjoyed a sustained period of success.
On 4 October 1998, Healy broke Rod Marsh's world record of 355 dismissals when he caught Wasim Akram from the bowling of Colin Miller, during the first Test against Pakistan at Rawalpindi. It was his 104th Test compared with Marsh's 96 Tests. Healy ended with 395 dismissals from 119 Tests. By the time of his retirement, Healy held the world record for most Test dismissals by a wicket-keeper.