DoctorxDentist to delist doctors who want profiles taken down
Medical practitioners should have the autonomy to associate or dissociate with an organisation: SMA.
Online platform DoctorxDentist, following days of intense back and forth with the Singapore Medical Association (SMA), said it will now remove the listings of doctors who have requested to have their profiles taken down from the website.
The startup recently got into a dispute with the SMA after some association members complained that the company refused to take down their profiles despite requests to do so, The Business Times reported last week.
The doctors were concerned about being linked to the website and its practices.
In response, SMA began collating a list of doctors who did not want to be associated with the platform, to be made public on the SMA website.
DoctorxDentist publishes reviews of medical practitioners and healthcare-related content.
It also lets users get price estimates and book appointments with doctors through their website, though it has since come to light that many doctors had not consented to accepting appointments through this channel.
A group of doctors had also threatened to sue the startup over concerns such as being unwillingly listed on the platform and copyright issues, BT reported. Others have expressed concerns about the authenticity of the reviews published.
In an update on its website on the evening of Nov 7, DoctorxDentist said the relevant doctors will be delisted while it works towards an amicable resolution with SMA.
"While we continue to firmly believe in improving the patient healthcare process with knowledge about their doctors, we would also like to respect the wishes of the various bodies pending further discussions," it said.
In justifying its refusal to delist doctors, DoctorxDentist had told SMA on Nov 6 that it was advised by a team of lawyers familiar with regulatory guidelines to list all medical practitioners in the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) directory. This was to ensure an unbiased and comprehensive listing for its readers, it said.
In an e-mailed response, SMA shot back that medical practitioners should have the autonomy to associate or dissociate with an organisation. SMA said it will proceed with publishing the list of doctors it has collated, unless DoctorxDentist removes the doctors' information from its website.
Though DoctorxDentist had implied that it has not violated any regulations or laws by listing the particulars of doctors from the SMC directory, SMA said that "there is more to life than not being illegal".
It said it would agree to meet virtually with the company only if officers from the Ministry of Health attend as well and provide the ministry's views on the matter.
Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.