Website forcing doctors into dubious business relationship
For immediate use
26 July 2018
Whitecoat website forcing doctors into dubious business relationship
“The Whitecoat website that rates doctors is looking more and more dubious on closer examination,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).
“It seems that doctors can be added to the website without their permission and the only way they can then have any semblance of control over what appears is if they then go through a process of ‘claiming’ their profile, which the website says they might then be charged for.
“If they do claim their profile, they can then decide not to show any comments by patients – but members of the public looking at the profile will be told that they have chosen not to show comments.
“Either way, whether they are listed on the website with their permission or without it, the doctor cannot opt out of the website. They are essentially coerced into a business relationship with Whitecoat that could be potentially harmful for them professionally or personally.”
ASMS has also raised concerns about the potential for unfair treatment of doctors (https://www.asms.org.nz/news/asms-news/2018/07/26/website-to-rate-doctors-a-serious-concern-questions-asked-about-fairness-safety-and-vested-interests-of-health-insurance-companies/).
“There may well be doctors who think this is a useful initiative to sign up to as part of a wider marketing plan for their practice or clinic. They should be aware, though, that once on the website, there’s apparently no getting off.”
“This policy makes it clear that Whitecoat will collect whatever information they can about a doctor, from whatever source available (including past or present employers), but may not have to share that personal information with a doctor even if asked to do so.
“This website has a lot of pitfalls for doctors and other health care professionals, and we think it needs some closer scrutiny.”