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When our records started showing that almost one in two nib customers who received pelvic mesh surgery had to be readmitted to hospital because of complications, we knew this was a serious issue.
So, in May, we sent a submission to the senate inquiry to highlight the risks associated with this type of surgery which was prescribed between 2011 and March 2017 for incontinence or prolapse repair.
Of the 138 women that nib paid benefits to, 60 women had complications that required them to be readmitted to hospital.
nib Executive for Benefits and Provider Relations, Dr Justin Vaughan, fronted the submission and explained that the complications “ranged from mechanical failure and other issues affecting nearby organs through to infection.”
nib Chief Executive, Mark Fitzgibbon, believes this failure highlights the need for patients to be able to access information about the history of both doctors and the procedures they offer.
“Change comes when patients start reporting poor experiences. Sadly, typically, it takes controversies before there’s change.”
“Had more women known about the negative outcomes other women had experienced from mesh surgery they would have been more informed about the possible consequences,” he said.
The lack of transparency is the very reason nib helped launch Whitecoat in 2013 – a website that’s been labelled the ‘Trip Advisor’ of health. Now with a broader industry focus, Whitecoat currently allows you to search for more than 200,000 healthcare providers by location, and is currently being expanded to include patient reviews and the effectiveness of procedures.
Had more women known about the negative outcomes other women had experienced from mesh surgery they would have been more informed about the possible consequences
“We want to provide patients with a large amount of patient feedback. We also do patient outcome measures where we go back to them 6-12 months after treatment and ask how they’re going,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“Most patients put their faith in GPs and specialists to do the right thing, and they rely on the fact their providers are certified by Medicare. But there’s no information from other patients about their experiences with doctors, and this is the vacuum Whitecoat’s trying to fill.”
To find a specialist in your area, visit Whitecoat.