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Doctor, doctor won’t you give me the news…

May 15, 2009

You probably wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Physicians & Surgeons is the 2nd most searched category in the yellow pages according to the Yellow Pages Association. Number 1 is restaurants and we’ve got that pretty well covered these days on Zenbu with over 4000 restaurants listed nationwide, but doctors are sadly missing from the landscape.

Back in November 2007 I approached my lifelong family doctor to talk about Zenbu and see if he could help get all the doctors on board as he was President of the Royal NZ General Practioners Association. His reply somewhat surprised me….

You are correct when you say we are not in Yellow Pages – quite deliberate. Like many Doctors we are overloaded with patients and are not trying to encourage new patients. So much so that I must ask you to remove the listing for us you put on the website please!

Maybe he saw Zenbu as advertising, I see it as an information resource – a digital collection of information freely available to you walking down the street in the real world. (The overwhelming majority of Zenbu visitors are people who are looking for a specific piece of information, an address or phone number, get it and leave. Many websites view a high Bounce Rate (people leaving your site without interacting past the first page they visit) as a sign of weakness, in Zenbu I see it as a sign of success as people have got what they need. Imagine if the Yellow Pages defined success as how many pages they made you look at to find the one thing you need?!)

It’s a very unique business who simply doesn’t want people to find them. I didn’t remove his listing; that information is publicly available in any number of places online and on the sign on the street outside their practice. But I did help him out by finding a new doctor…

It’s time to get the medical profession on Zenbu. I’m currently in discussions with the Ministry of Health about getting a list of Health Practitioners nationwide and that will be a massive step forward. In the meantime I found a few lists of general practices on Counties-Manukau and Auckland District Health Board sites and have loaded those. That means we’ve got 234 general practices on Zenbu right now but I hope one day soon you’ll be able to find every one of them.

  1. May 15, 2009 5:22 pm

    Note: there are a number of pirvacy issues to address like , a large number of doctors list their home address as their practicing address even though their practice is somewhere else.

  2. May 16, 2009 4:59 pm

    Definitely want to avoid listing home residences. That’s useless for all sides.
    The Ministry of Health Health Practitioner Index (HPI) is supposed to have ‘organisation’ addresses differentiated from the ‘practitioner’ address but we’ll see how well they’ve done that when we see the data.

  3. Maurice Winn permalink
    June 9, 2009 8:20 pm

    It seems there is not enough competition for the Medical cartel. They obviously need some deregulation so competitors can help them with their big surplus of customers. Early specialisation is the answer – cut training from a decade to 3 months for specialty services. Or less for lots of things. Parents are the front line medical experts for umpty thousand children and they get no training before they are providing medical expertise to their children, so it’s not as though a lot of training is essential before services can be offered.

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