I am writing to you to put the record straight and reassure you in respect of recent media reports about HealthEngine’s management of user data.
These reports have created the incorrect impression that the health and personal information of HealthEngine users is being widely shared with third parties without their knowledge.
This simply isn’t the case.
As an online health marketplace, we believe that users benefit from having the choice to receive relevant and timely information about certain products and services. Users may elect to have their details provided to third parties for referral purposes by an express opt in or verbal consent.
These value-added services aim to be helpful for users along their healthcare journey similar to those you may see when booking other services like travel.
We have referral and advertising arrangements in place with a range of industry partners, including government, not for profit, medical research, private health insurance and other health service providers.
Referrals do not occur without the express consent of the user.
Users can still use our booking services without agreeing to be referred to a third party service provider.
We at HealthEngine are devastated by the developments of recent weeks because we feel our mission of a connected healthcare ecosystem that empowers the world’s best care experiences and the cause of digital health in Australia as a whole has been set back.
We are passionate about improving the healthcare system and the role digital health can play in revolutionising the access and experience of healthcare which ultimately leads to better health outcomes.
As we have grown to serve millions of Australians every year and help them get better access to healthcare we have invested heavily to scale our systems, people and processes to accommodate our growth and recognise the impact we now have.
This is a large responsibility and one we don’t take lightly.
Nevertheless, we acknowledge that, despite being well intentioned and trying to innovate in health care, that recent media coverage has damaged the trust we have built up over many years with our users, customers and industry partners.
Health care is a sensitive area and we have heard the feedback we have received from our customers and users that they are concerned about data privacy.
In order to restore their confidence in our management of user information, we have decided to make substantial changes to HealthEngine’s business model around advertising and referrals.
We are finalising the arrangements underpinning these changes and are on track to make an announcement within the next week.
Moving forward, we will continue to consult with our users, customers, industry partners and relevant regulators to deliver better health outcomes.
We sincerely hope that by taking the steps we are about to take and by being open to more feedback and learning that we can regain that trust and continue to have the opportunity to deliver the value to the healthcare sector and millions of our users in better ways than we have done before.
Dr. Marcus Tan
Founder, CEO & Medical Director