Leading medical portal provider Doctoralia is to roll out online booking to its UK website in the wake of the British government’s moves to extend patient choice in the public sector.

Doctoralia attracts 5 million visitors per month to its medical portals worldwide and 300 000 visitors per month to its UK site.

The Doctoralia websites enable visitors to read other patients’ feedback on medical practitioners’ services. Online booking is being progressively rolled out to selected countries.

Reading the opinions of other patients helps people make an informed choice,” said Doctoralia’s UK regional manager Aline Noizet. “Now they will be able to see the doctors’ availability and book an appointment in one click .”

TuOtempO is to provide technical integration services for medical establishments wishing to integrate their existing online booking software with the Doctoralia site.

We know the Doctoralia system very well,” said tuOtempO managing director Donatello Bianco. “Because we have already integrated online booking many times with Doctoralia portals in Spain and Italy. It is very attractive for medical establishments to know that they can make online booking available in multiple locations : on their website, on their facebook page, on portals such as Doctoralia, on the websites of medical insurance providers. Our job is to provide the hub which enables them to optimise their online communication.”

Under the UK government’s health service reforms, public sector patients will now be able to receive treatment from “Any qualified provider”, whether the provider themselves works in the public or private sector. Providers will not though be able to compete on price and patients will have to choose from a shortlist drawn up by regional commissioning authorities.

The previous Labour government sponsored the introduction of an online booking service for specialist healthcare called “Choose and Book”. However patient surveys reveal that one of the the biggest criticisms of the “Choose and Book” environment is the lack of the qualitative information that’s required if patients are to be able to make meaningful choices. Doctoralia, with its system of ratings and reviews, intends to plug that information gap.

It’s a question of empowering the patient,” says Noizet.