An online version of the medical register that went live last week is a straightforward implementation of Microsoft Internet Information Server and Access, says Christchurch-based developer Unify.
It is updated with a weekly extraction from the Medical Council’s main database, but is kept physically separate from that and other council systems.
Security measures have been incorporated to prevent outsiders “screen-scraping” the entire database or subsets of it, to use -- for example, for mass mailouts.
The register will give permission to patients to question doctors and their experience, says Carolyn Bull, a member of the Medical Council.
An inquirer can also search for doctors specialising in certain fields and in certain geographical areas. Full contact information is not made available for privacy reasons, but it would not be hard to find in the phone directory if one knew the doctor’s full name, says Unify's Malcolm McCullough.
The register allows inquirers to check a doctor’s qualifications, experience and appropriate fields of expertise. There have been recent cases of doctors practising branches of medicine for which they were not adequately trained.