ADA takes on the Whitecoats

NIB wants you to use their new Whitecoats website to promote your practice, but the ADA doesn’t like it.

The Australian Dental Association has written to its members advising them to avoid registering with the new Whitecoat website, which has been developed by health insurer NIB. NIB describes the website as an online service which lets you find and compare healthcare specialists in your local area. But the ADA has told members it has a number of concerns relating to the concept and has sought legal advice on many issues relating to it.

Speaking to the ABC, ADA spokesman Terry Pitsikas, said, “People could make comments inadvertently that could be deemed to be libellous. Patients often can be in an emotional state when they’ve been treated. It’s quite dangerous.”

The ABC reported the organisation wanted such sites banned, saying there is the potential for misleading impressions.

“You do need the reputations of dentists,” he said. “There is no way that you can control the comments that are going on.”

In its letter to members, the ADA identified its areas of concern as being:

(a) The content regarding individual service providers may amount to a “testimonial” which, under the proposed DBA requirements, is not permitted.

(b) The management of such a system leaves open the scope for abuse by members of the public, NIB and dentists. As such the ADA will question the existence of the site on the basis that the information may prove to be misleading and not in the public interest.

(c) The criteria for comparison of providers are ill defined and may only provide ambiguous information.

(d) The site is unlikely to provide any worthwhile information to consumers and in many cases may only cause confusion for them.

A spokesperson for NIB told the ABC that the concerns expressed by medical practitioners were valid, however, each comment will be extensively moderated and screened for profanity.


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