Online physician directories and rating sites are popping up around the world. Some are private ventures, some are supported by insurance companies, and others are consumer apps rating services. Their business models vary, but the idea is to give patients the information they need to find the right doctor to treat their problem with a satisfactory outcome.
Online physician directories and rating sites are popping up around the world. Some are private ventures, some are supported by insurance companies, and others are consumer apps rating services. Their business models vary, but the idea is to give patients the information they need to find the right doctor to treat their problem with a satisfactory outcome. Their reach can be local, regional, national, or international.
If you are a (physician) entrepreneur in this sector of digital health, here are some things to consider:
1.Referral liability. How do you qualify the competence and credentials of the doctors that you list on your site? In case you have not heard, people lie on their resumes. What happens if you promote a doctor who is not who he or she is who they say they are?
2.Validity. While credentials. Qualifications and experiences are useful indictors; they are inputs. What are more important are outputs, like results of treating certain conditions.
3.Prices. Do those listed include their prices for treatment or procedures and are they transparent and inclusive? How do you know that your insurance will cover any or most of the costs?
4.Services. What other services, in addition to medical services are offered, particularly if the site is promoted to those who will have to travel for care, like hotels, ground operations, visas, passport services, airport transfers, etc.
5.Companion offerings. A family member or companion would accompany most patients who travel for care. What amenities, travel attractions or services will you offer to them?
6.Ratings. Do you allow patients to rate the doctors they see? What about reputation management tools?
8.Fee splitting. What is the business model of the site? Who makes how much when there is a referral? How does the site owner make money?
9.Referral leaks. About half of medical referrals don't happen the way they are supposed to happen due to physician, patient, third party or system errors. Is referral management part of the platform?
10.Compliance. Rules concerning physician and truth in advertising vary around the world. Is the site compliant with those rules?
It used to be that patients used good old word of mouth to find the right doctor. For many patients, that didn't work either. These days, it is increasingly difficult for patients to separate the right signal from the noise of online physician marketing and they become dissatisfied. Entrepreneurs should build sites that exceed patient expectations and that add value. Patients have the responsibility for due diligence and spending as much time choosing a doctor, if they have that luxury, as they would choosing their next hotel room.