Some six million Australians will soon enjoy greater transparency and convenience for their healthcare choices as three major health insurers partner up to develop an online healthcare platform.
Bupa and HBF have signed a heads of agreement to join nib in expanding the Whitecoat healthcare provider platform, which when fully developed, will allow consumers to find, book, review, and pay for healthcare treatment from their chosen provider.
Mark Fitzgibbon, nib managing director, said the joint venture will give the ‘TripAdvisor’ for healthcare even greater reach and penetration across Australia.
“There is simply too little transparency when it comes to the customer’s experience of the healthcare system. And dealing with healthcare providers remains very ‘clunky’ in a digital world in which consumers increasingly expect automation,” said Fitzgibbon.
Dwayne Crombie, Bupa Health Insurance managing director, explained the importance of the Whitecoat healthcare platform to the industry and consumers: “Australia has a world-class healthcare system and some of the best clinicians, but many consumers want more information to assist their choice of healthcare provider and treatment.”
“This is the information that is readily available to consumers in almost every other industry that is critical to improving healthcare market efficiency and affording healthcare providers with greater visibility to consumers.”
Rob Bransby, HBF managing director, said health providers will also benefit from Whitecoat: “Whitecoat gives clinicians a new capability to automate a lot of paperwork, benchmark their performance against their peers, and provides information about the experience they are delivering to their consumers and patients.”
Graeme Samuel, who recently advised the Federal Government
on making private insurance more responsive to consumers, acknowledged the role of Whitecoat for increasing transparency in healthcare and in helping consumers make informed choices.
“Whitecoat looks like a big step towards providing consumers with information that can help them make better choices about treatment and providers. This kind of transparency is also crucial to driving competition and efficiency in a market which definitely has considerable scope for improvement,” said Samuel.
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