Monday, 13 August 2018 12:59

NSW start-up trials new service connecting patients with medical specialists Featured

By
Private Patient Connect CEO & founder Tess van der Rijt Private Patient Connect CEO & founder Tess van der Rijt

A new technology platform which allow patients in private and public hospitals to connect directly with medical specialists and exchange information on fees, wait times and locations before consultation, is now being trialled in New South Wales.

The platform has been developed by Sydney start-up Private Patient Connect with the assistance of a $25,000 Minimum Viable Product grant from the New South Wales Government’s Jobs for NSW.

The Private Patient Connect platform is being trialled in Western Sydney, with more than 300 specialists at 13 private and public hospitals, including Westmead, Liverpool and Nepean, already on board with the service.

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 could 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,” Dr Seelan said.

Private Patient Connect chief executive 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 claimed it 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,” she 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 the platform works is patients would 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 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.”

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro said: “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.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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