HealthEngine suspends review platform

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Online medical booking service HealthEngine has suspended its customer feedback platform pending a full review.

The service is an online intermediary that allows consumers to book an appointment with a general practitioner, dentist, chiropractor, physiotherapist or psychologist.

It has also provided a platform allowing consumers to provide feedback on their experience with individual practitioners.

However, recent revelations in Farifax found a significant proportion of feedback was edited or moderated out of discussion, particularly if it was negative about particular practitioners or clinics.

In a statement, HealthEngine CEO Dr Marcus Tan apologised and said the company was removing all customer feedback from the site pending a review of the platform.

According to Dr Tan, "The HealthEngine Practice Recognition System aims to celebrate the amazing work of GPs and health practices around the country. HealthEngine is not and has never intended to be a traditional ratings and review site.

"As part of this program, patient feedback about their experience is gathered by HealthEngine and positive feedback is published on the profiles of practices rated highly and recommended by their patients. The aim is to bring attention to and celebrate high-performing practices."

He said AHPRA regulations require the company to moderate feedback to ensure it is compliant. "This often means removing clinical information, or comments that may identify the patient or a specific practitioner," he said, confirming that negative feedback is passed on to the relevant clinic rather than published.

"We email all patients about their reviews being published and alert them to having possibly been moderated according to our guidelines.

"Patients have on occasion requested the non-publishing of moderated feedback and we happily comply. We have not intended to moderate any reviews to mislead readers, and over the last 3 years, have received very few complaints about the way we have moderated the comments, including from the patients who submitted them."