Research: reviews on ZorgkaartNederland unreliable

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Reviews ZorgkaartNederland

Het Financieel Dagblad (FD) conducted research into the reviews on ZorgkaartNederland. Those reviews are scarce and the average scores are extremely high. Moreover, the ratings appear to be easy to manipulate. Yet regulators and health insurers use this website to determine policy.

Few reviews

The FD research shows that there are relatively few reviews on ZorgkaartNederland (ZN): 52 percent of healthcare institutions and 70 percent of private healthcare providers have not received a single review in the past 4 years. The number of reviews does not meet the requirements that ZN itself sets for the number of reviews. As a “reliability limit”, ZN states that, for example, a doctor must have received at least 9 reviews in the past 4 years to consider the score as reliable. For healthcare institutions, this number is 30. Only 9.2 percent of healthcare institutions and 3.2 percent of private healthcare providers on the site meet this limit.

Suspiciously high scores

According to the FD, the few reactions on ZN are also “suspiciously positive”. It turns out to be very easy to manipulate the reviews. The FD gives the example of a general practitioner who was convicted of raping 3 patients. Even after the practice closes, the reviews continue to come in. His score on ZN is 9.5. The editors of FD posted several fake positive reviews on ZN. They were installed without any problems.

Strict filter

On the other hand, it appears to be much more difficult to post a negative review. The code of conduct, which states which expressions may and may not appear on the site, is strict. ZN uses a filter that blocks terms such as “incompetent” or “inexpert”. The fear of legal consequences for ZN may play a role, according to the FD. The criticism of ZN is not new, but regulators and health insurers still use ZN as a source, for example for planning inspection visits or purchasing discussions. ZN responds to the critical research article with the statement that ‘The improvement process also often comes to a standstill on the part of the healthcare providers. If we want to give patients 100 percent insight into the actual quality of care, more objective quality information will have to be made available from healthcare providers.’


The website ZorgkaartNederland was founded in 2009 by the Patient Federation of the Netherlands to help patients choose a healthcare provider and to improve the quality of care. There are 1 million visitors every month, and around 60,000 healthcare locations are listed.

Source: Financieel Dagblad

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