Update on ACCC Proceedings
Update for patients
Dear HealthEngine user,
The HealthEngine team appreciates you trusting us to support your healthcare and connection with your healthcare providers.
We would like to share with you that legal proceedings by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) have been concluded.
At our heart, we are a consent-driven platform helping patients, like you, to find and connect with the healthcare services they need. The conclusion of the ACCC proceedings enables us to now focus 100 percent on that goal.
By way of background, the proceedings related to two services – the Practice Recognition System and private health insurance comparison services – which were either discontinued or significantly overhauled two years ago, prior to HealthEngine being formally advised of any ACCC investigation.
We have acknowledged previously that our rapid growth over the years had sometimes outpaced our systems and processes. We sincerely apologised that we had not always met the high expectations of the community and our HealthEngine users. That said, our apology remains.
HealthEngine made some mistakes with the way we published practice ratings and reviews submitted by patients, and did not make it adequately clear on the booking form that when a consumer requested to speak to an expert relating to their health insurance, a third party private health insurance comparison service, not HealthEngine, would call them back. As a result, some consumers may not have made a fully informed choice regarding the transfer of their non-clinical, personal information to a private health insurance comparison service. That was our error.
What does HealthEngine have to do?
HealthEngine and the ACCC agreed to put joint submissions and proposed orders to the Federal Court. In the joint submissions, the ACCC acknowledged that the contraventions did not relate to medical or clinical matters; that there was no suggestion that senior management intended to breach Australian consumer law; and HealthEngine co-operated with the ACCC throughout the investigation.
After considering the submissions, the Federal Court made orders that HealthEngine pay a financial penalty; notify affected consumers who requested a health insurance comparison that HealthEngine did not clearly communicate on the booking form that a third party would contact them regarding the comparison and that we would pass-on consumer details to enable that to occur; and commission an annual independent review of our Australian Consumer Law compliance program for the next three years.
Your privacy is important to us
It is important to reinforce that HealthEngine never has, and never will, sell user databases to third parties. Further, the only time we provide clinical information to third parties is to a consumer’s nominated healthcare provider to deliver the health care services requested by that consumer.
Most importantly, HealthEngine is confident that no clinical data was shared with private health insurance comparison services and no adverse health outcomes were created by these issues.
We made some mistakes. Good intentions do not excuse poor execution and this process has given us a greater understanding of our operational shortcomings, which we’ve addressed. We apologise for any issues that it may have caused.
Our mission to enable better healthcare experiences and outcomes remains at the heart of everything we do. We wish to thank you for your support of HealthEngine in allowing us to help you manage your healthcare.
If you have further questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our Patient Support team will get back to you.
Dr Marcus Tan
CEO, Co-Founder and Medical Director