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Why Doctors Are Concerned About The Rise Of Online Medical Certificates In Australia

As Australia’s online medical certificates industry grows, so do health risks that the government, medical regulators and doctors’ groups are only now beginning to recognise.

Doctors across the country have been handing out medical certificates in response to patients filling in simple online forms. 

Online certificates have become a convenient option for people who aren’t feeling well enough to work or leave the house, without needing to speak to a doctor.

But experts are worried that without those conversations, urgent health issues can be left undiagnosed.

Adjunct Professor in Health Science Dr Helen Keleher told The Briefing why asking patients to assess their own symptoms online can be dangerous:

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Last year Australian mega-corporation Wesfarmers, which also owns Bunnings, Officeworks, Kmart and Target, bought InstantScripts for $135 million.

InstantScripts has become a giant player in a pool of businesses offering online medical certificates in Australia using a simple online form to assess patients’ symptoms.

Dr Helen Keleher said most people believe they are more health literate than they are, while “maybe 10 or 15% of the population can assess their own symptoms accurately.”

The Briefing’s investigative team went undercover online to expose how the crisis in Australia’s GP practices has degraded online healthcare.

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