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.