What do you think of oncology

Oncological practice in Brandenburg an der Havel

For some years now, patients have been able to provide more or less structured information on the Internet about how satisfied they were with the services of doctors and / or clinics. In May 2011 the AOK, the first statutory health insurance, opened an internet portal for its members to evaluate medical services (www.aok-arztnavi.de). In the meantime, other health insurance companies have joined the initiative (www.arztnavi.barmer-gek.de) or have founded their own portals (www.vdek-arztlotse.de). We have put together in questions and answers what we should think of this from our point of view.

Do you feel restricted in your work by the new review portals?

No, the fact that such portals exist has not changed my work. I can understand that patients want to use all sources in order to find a doctor who is particularly suitable for their needs. And of course I find it interesting what these portals say about our practice, but so far only a few patients have used this form of feedback.

Are there quality criteria that such portals should meet in your opinion?

The Medical Center for Quality Assurance compiled a catalog of criteria in 2009 that good portals should meet. In my opinion, it is very important that a minimum number of reviews should be received before reviews are published. In addition, queries should be as standardized as possible so that the individual pieces of information can actually be compared with one another. I also find it important that the website excludes identical multiple reviews by one and the same person. After all, the published data should not be older than twelve months. I find it helpful for disciplined filling in if you first have to register before you can submit your reviews. Finally, there should be a contact address to which abuses can be reported.

Do patients assess the performance of their doctors differently today than they used to?

Yes and no, but there is a trend towards more communication on an equal footing. And I think that's right. Today, with the internet portals of the self-help groups, but also with the internet presences of the individual practices, infinitely more information options are available than ten years ago. In the past you asked friends, looked up the phone book and then asked for an appointment in the practice. Today, patients know much more about the practice in advance, and increasingly more likely from reputable review portals.

Do you believe that portals really point the way to the right doctor?

That depends on what the patient is looking for and how he would like to shape his relationship with the treating doctor. There are patients who absorb any information and continue to train so that they can also have professional discussions with us doctors. Others rely more on their feelings, pay attention to whether the chemistry between them and the doctor is right, but do not want to be overly informed about treatment details. Most patients find themselves somewhere between these extremes. Internet portals are probably the most interesting for those with a more knowledge-based thinking.

And what is your personal opinion on these portals?

Two aspects are important to me: On the one hand, these portals can improve the transparency of medical actions, and that is good for our patients. On the other hand, medical colleagues should not look too suspiciously at the new portals. One should know that they exist and, in case of doubt, regard them as a possible tool for improving doctor-patient communication.

Information as of February 15, 2012