Rate Dentists on the Internet
Health insurance companies encourage their insured to the dentist evaluation on the Internet
Patients have been able to rate GPs and Specialists since May of last year on an internet portal. This is a joint project of the health insurances AOK, Barmer GEK and Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) as well as the Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband and the Bertelsmann Stiftung. After a conversion, dentists can now be assessed online.
55,000 established dentists can be evaluated
The portal "www.weisse-liste.de" should help insured persons to find a suitable home, specialist or dentist. For the evaluation of the approximately 55,000 dentists 40 questions are asked around the topics "practice and personnel", "physician communication", "treatment" and "overall impression". The aim of the participating health insurance funds, the Federation of German Consumer Organizations and the Bertelsmann Foundation is to improve the quality of practices in the long-term by providing credible assessments of insured persons through their physicians. These can be viewed on the Internet, provided that at least ten assessments of a doctor are available. Naughty comments are not allowed.
Dr. Ilona Köster-Steinebach, Consultant for Quality and Transparency in Health Care of the Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband declares: „From our consulting work, we know that most questions and feedback on health care providers relate to dentists. In the dental practice, financial aspects have a high priority. It is important for patients that the dentist reliably informs about the costs incurred at an early stage. This is also part of the questionnaire, in the development of which the representatives of the patient and consumer organizations were intensively involved.“
Only insured persons who belong to one of the three participating health insurance companies can participate in the assessment. With the information on their insurance card, they can log in and fill out the questionnaire online.
Family doctors got better reviews than specialists
„Initial evaluations of the results available so far show that our portal offers a real guide to the search for physicians. Because between the individual doctors of a specialized group substantial differences in the evaluation are to be determined. Satisfaction with the communication of a doctor is the most important factor for the recommendation by the patients. The portal also provides the clinicians with valuable clues for the day-to-day practice, showing the points at which the patients wish for improvements“, reports Jürgen Graalmann, Managing Director of the AOK-Bundesverband. So far, around 3,500 of 130,000 physicians have been evaluated.
The previous evaluation was in favor of general practitioners. 88 percent of the patients would certainly or probably recommend their family doctor, while the specialists were only 75 percent. The question of whether they would visit their GP again, 95 percent of patients answered „Yes“. 79 percent of patients would consult their specialist again.
Other health insurance companies are invited to participate
The three health insurance companies, the Federation of German Consumer Organizations and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, which is also involved, are calling further funds to participate. „More than half of those insured by law can now share their experiences with doctors and dentists online. We want to establish a new standard for the online assessment of physicians - meaningful, methodologically high quality and fair. The portal is growing continuously. All health insurance companies are invited to participate“, reports Brigitte Mohn, board member of the Bertelsmann Foundation. (Ag)
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