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Whitecoat.co.nz: Kiwis to rate & review doctors

In every market, disruptors experience resistance from uncertain or cynical parties, but it’s all part and parcel, says Matthew Donnellan, Chief Executive Officer of recently launched online health directory and review platform Whitecoat.

New Zealand first platform, Whitecoat.co.nz, allows consumers to search, rate, review and compare healthcare providers in their local area. Launched in late-July, the site was met with some resistance by industry bodies who felt the platform would become a breeding ground for hate speech against clinicians.

Historically, the healthcare market has lacked information, transparency and comparability – to the detriment of consumers. There’s generally been very limited access to, or the ability to comprehend, information relative to a consumer’s health and treatment when needed. Whitecoat is aimed at helping Kiwis make more informed choices about who they see about their health.

Matthew Donnellan.

“Every other service industry has had to combat some degree of scrutiny – why should healthcare be any different?” says Donnellan.

“The platform is regulated and monitored with strict guidelines in place, so no feedback of a clinical nature is allowed. Comments or reviews do not compromise a healthcare provider’s professional skillset – however, they are able to give their feedback on the customer service received. Positive reviews are encouraged above all else and can assist consumers who have moved to a new region to find a GP or help someone when looking for a specialist they haven’t previously required.”

Whitecoat hosts over 10,000 providers across a range of health disciplines throughout New Zealand including GPs, specialists, dentists and physiotherapists. Supported by leading health insurer nib, the site has been dubbed the ‘TripAdvisor of healthcare’.

Initially developed in Australia in 2013 and now supported by nib, Bupa and HBF, Whitecoat has fast become Australia’s premier online healthcare platform, hosting over 220,000 trusted practitioner listings and used by tens of thousands of Aussies each week.

“When we initially launched in Australia, there was a bit of an outcry from the healthcare industry, but they soon realised the benefits the platform could bring to them. It’s a forum for providers to connect with patients, receive feedback and reply to reviews while also creating an online presence,” he says.

“If the healthcare industry in New Zealand can do the same, we’re sure providers and consumers alike will find benefit in the platform and utilise it as an emerging digital tool as in every other industry.”

Further planned developments to the Whitecoat platform include building in other functionalities, such as the ability to make bookings and payments via the platform – capabilities that are currently offered in Australia.