Patients can now connect directly with medical specialists and exchange information concerning fees, wait times and locations before consultation thanks to a new technology platform developed with the support of the NSW government.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro said Sydney startup, Private Patient Connect, has been assisted to develop its platform with a $25,000 Minimum Viable Product grant from Jobs for NSW.
“This is a fantastic example of how Jobs for NSW is helping a local technology startup become a high growth, job-creating business of the future,” Barilaro said.
The Private Patient Connect platform is now being trialled in Western Sydney with more than 300 specialists at 13 private and public hospitals, including Westmead, Liverpool and Nepean, on board.
Dr Shanthini Seelan, a Toongabbie-based GP, said Private Patient Connect would give patients more choice and control of their medical treatment by providing upfront transparent information about specialist fees, waitlists, locations and experience, so they can make more informed decisions.
“Currently there is a lack of transparent information for patients about specialist doctors, including their fees for consultation and surgery, waitlists, their operating locations and their experience and areas of expertise. GPs also don’t know what a specialist will charge a patient or what their waitlist is when they write the referral.”
Private Patient Connect CEO and Founder Tess van der Rijt said the online platform had been developed by experienced medical professionals to bring benefits to both patients and specialist doctors and was unique in the medical marketplace. “Our new online system will address these issues by creating an open market and allowing patients to compare and find the best specialist for their medical needs, at the price, availability and location that best suits them,” van der Rijt said.
“Specialists will also benefit as they will be able to proactively grow their practice by privately communicating their services with private patients looking for their skills. This is the first time specialists are able to proactively seek work and tailor their responses to the patient’s unique need.”
van der Rijt said the way it works is patients will obtain an open referral from their GP and then make a private online request for a quote to the secure platform outlining their medical need, and will upload any relevant documents such as x-rays.
“Specialists will then provide an online quote through us as intermediaries outlining fees, availability and locations. Patients then review the responses and select their preferred doctor. Importantly, only the patient who requested the information will be able to review the responses from specialists, so none of the specialist’s commercially sensitive information is being publicly shared. The service will be free for patients while specialists will be charged a percentage referral fee for all consultations and operations,” she said.