Forum: Websites ranking doctors need to be regulated

The DoctorxDentist (DxD) website puts up doctors' profiles and reviews without the doctors' consent (Docs up in arms over website listing their profiles, Nov 14).

Some doctors are rated five stars while others are rated lower. The doctors listed are not able to to confirm the authenticity of the reviewers and their reviews, or to respond to them.

The website also encourages the public to visit the listing of specialists with five-star reviews.

The Singapore Medical Association did the right thing in demanding that the website obtain the consent of doctors before listing them.

Doctors must have the right not to be associated with such ranking websites. There should be an "opt-in" system, rather than the current "opt-out" system.

Even for Google reviews, a company has the right to decide if it wants to be reviewed.

More importantly, the website must declare any potential conflict of interest. Any doctor who pays a fee to this website ought to declare that on the listing.

The public has the right to know if the five-star doctors listed on the website are paying members.

On a similar note, it is common practice for bloggers and influencers who promote certain products on their social media platform to declare any sponsorship of the products.

Medicine is getting more commercialised nowadays. The authorities such as the Ministry of Health and the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore ought to step in to regulate such ranking and rating websites.

Desmond Wai (Dr)

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