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Australia: HealthEngine to pay $2.9 million for misleading reviews and patient referrals

Christian Fernsby ▼ | August 24, 2020
The Federal Court has ordered that HealthEngine Pty Ltd pay $2.9 million in penalties for engaging in misleading conduct in relation to the sharing of patient personal information to private health insurance brokers and publishing misleading patient reviews and ratings.
Australia   HealthEngine
HealthEngine admitted that between 30 April 2014 and 30 June 2018 it gave non-clinical personal information, such as names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, of over 135,000 patients to third party private health insurance brokers without adequately disclosing this to consumers. HealthEngine earned more than $1.8 million from its arrangements with private health insurance brokers during this period.

Topics: Australia HealthEngine

HealthEngine was also ordered to contact affected consumers and provide details of how they can regain control of their personal information.

HealthEngine also admitted that between 31 March 2015 and 1 March 2018, it did not publish around 17,000 reviews and edited around 3,000 reviews to remove negative aspects, or to embellish them. HealthEngine also admitted that it misrepresented to consumers the reasons why it did not publish a rating for some health or medical practices.

The ACCC began investigating HealthEngine in July 2018 and subsequently launched legal proceedings. HealthEngine describes itself as Australia’s largest online health marketplace, which is used by over a million consumers every month.