After being engrossed in healthcare in Australia for a decade, there is one topic I know that can cause an almost physical reaction in many Doctors. Doctor Rating websites.
This article started out as a simple “Top 5” but evolved as it warranted some depth at least (I suspect a long-form analysis of this topic is a future project).
We live in the age of a savvy consumer rating their experiences online instantly for their Uber journey, their latest takeaway meal and their Airbnb weekend getaway. The upside, transparent reflections so people know what they are letting themselves in for, particularly when there has been a substantial amount of feedback.
The downside in healthcare it can get personal, fake and damaging, quickly. The argument is complex, as is the dynamics of the directory websites that can act as quasi-reviews sites too and have appointment booking services.
Some Doctors need these to advertise and acquire patients, but some sites list Doctors without their permission or them registering, thus a patient can then review a practitioner, some anonymously. Cleverly the sites have a “Claim Your Profile” option also.
Although “legal” for these sites to operate and offer this service, healthcare professionals are made to adopt strict guidelines about testimonials so even they cannot use the good reviews overtly.
Throw in the HealthEngine scandals around changing patient reviews on their own site and we have one hot mess of an “industry”. One that has crept up ever so gradually in the past few years with no sign of abating, whatever your position on it.
For the curious out there, here are some of those sites that currently review Australian Doctors to varying degrees (excluding Google Reviews and HealthEngine, that recently stripped back this function):
The nib-backed Whitecoat reported proudly on its homepage in 2019 that it now had over one million reviews submitted for the practitioners on its site.
With the opportunity to “List by Practice” and also “List by Practitioner”, this also means a consumer can “Review By” under both of these options.
Starting as a health care provider comparison tool, the site has not operated without some controversy. Concerns from Doctor associations over privacy issues have been vocal, but it has managed to avoid any huge media attention like HealthEngine and continues to market itself as the “Trip Advisor” for healthcare.
Founded in 2004 in San Jose, California, it may come as a surprise that Australian Doctors appear on the site.
It claims that is has over one million Doctors listed, and from an initial investigation it seems there are around 10,000 from Down Under from multiple specialties, but predominantly GPs.
Curiously there is even pre-set “Top 10” lists that show the current highest rated Doctors for a particular city or region. Even more surprising is the revelation that (allegedly) in recent years when Doctors contacted the company about a negative review, sales representatives suggested they could have these removed for a fee.
Claiming to be the , “…the fastest growing resource for finding the best doctors in Australia”, Best Doctors offers a range of healthcare professionals from Acupuncturists to GPs to Physiotherapists and more.
It appears to be barely used with many blank profiles and scant information. Although not immediately obvious it also offers a service called “InterConsultation”, a medical review of sorts.
The slightly confusing nature of it is compounded by a section offering an Online Doctor claiming a database of 50,000+ Specialists and Sub-Specialists, seemingly only covered if your health insurance agrees.
“An online directory of Australian businesses with millions of people searching on True Local each month”, the site does not specialise in healthcare and Doctors, but it does include them, from Podiatrists to Surgeons.
28,691 listings existed at last count with the majority of the listings focusing on the practice, medical centre or business name, not the practitioners.
Although a sizeable portion of listings do not have any reviews, the ones that do have anything from seven to 30.
Do you know of any other Doctor Rating Sites? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org