Online sick certificates ‘not in the patient’s best interest’

23 Nov 2017

AMA Vice President Dr Tony Bartone has expressed concern about the worrying development of the use of online medical certificates. Qoctor, previously branded as Dr Sicknote, is planning to extend its services into online doctor appointments.

Currently, the website offers medical certificates and prescriptions after a Skype consultation. The CEO of Qoctor, Aifric Boylan, spoke to Mamamia and told of the planned expansion.

Dr Bartone has slammed the proposed move.

“Anything that tries to fragment a continuous, lifelong GP-patient relationship has got to be not in the patient’s best interest,” Dr Bartone said.

“The best relationship anyone can have with their GP is one that’s as continuous as possible. That’s going to prepare you in the best sense possible from a primary health care perspective, be it preventive health care, be it the management of unexpected illnesses, and providing appropriate care at the appropriate stages.”

The AMA’s position statement on technology-based patient consultations outlines when these are appropriate to use as an alternative to consulting with a patient in the same physical room:

  • as an adjunct to normal medical practice;
  • for regular patients of the practice;
  • for patients who have been referred by another medical practitioner;
  • when it is clinically appropriate for the patient’s circumstances.

Further reading: AMA Position Statement: Technology-based patient consultations - 2013