ONLINE HEALTH

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Doctors use the internet to market themselves and find new patients. Source:  Javier Larrea/age fotostock Spain S.L./Corbis
Doctors use the internet to market themselves and find new patients.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Commercial websites are financed mainly by doctors who pay a premium to present their services – and receive more hits because of the premium placement.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Jameda is the market leader in Germany for online doctor searches, with about 3.5 million monthly users at the end of 2013.
    • Germans visit a doctor 13 times a year on average.
    • Up to 30 percent use websites to find their physicians.
  • Audio

    Audio

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On average, Germans visit a doctor 13 times a year and are increasingly critical of the care they receive. Several companies are responding with new Internet-based services.

A number of websites, such as Jameda, Imedo, Docinsider, Sanego and Arzt-Auskunft, now allow patients to evaluate doctors and also find the right physician. While some of the sites are commercial start-ups, others operate in collaboration with health insurance funds, such as the White List.

At first, the medical profession campaigned against online doctor evaluations because of possible slander. Now thousands of doctors use the websites as marketing tools to attract new patients.

“Doctors learned to react constructively to a trend they couldn’t fight,” said Corinna Schäfer of the Medical Center for Quality Medicine, which regularly assesses the quality of doctor-search websites.

Commercial websites are financed largely through the fees doctors pay to present their range of services. The online services give them greater visibility, allowing them to attract new patients.

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