Qoctor, the online medical certificate and prescription provider, has been named a technology innovation winner
Qoctor, which was formerly known as Dr Sicknote, attracted criticism by the RACGP and Pharmacy Guild after it announced in September that it was expanding its services.
The finder awards aim to recognise the best products and most exciting innovations in Australia, with shortlisting centred around finding the most notable innovations across the finance, tech, travel and retail sectors. Qoctor was the national winner in the Best Tech Innovation category.
“The impact Qoctor will have on people’s lives will be very positive, especially for those who cannot leave their homes to visit their doctor,” the judging panel said.
GP and CEO at Qoctor, Dr Aifric Boylan, says that Qoctor is becoming a household name, but “we want to turn the word Qoctor into a verb”.
“We want our customers to recommend their friends to ‘just Qoctor it’ meaning to find a quick, easy, trustworthy and reliable way to get better.
“Our customer numbers are rising steadily, and we’ve quadrupled patient numbers in the last two quarters, with consultation numbers rising week by week.”
Since its launch in December 2015, Qoctor has issued 7,734 medical certificates online, which it says has saved Medicare $355,764.
Earlier this year it launched its online prescription service for medications such as the oral contraceptive pill and mini pill, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, delaying a menstrual period, chlamydia and genital herpes.
When this expanded service was announced, RACGP president Dr Bastian Seidel said that patients should not be able to get scripts, referrals and medical certificates online unless they were provided by the patient’s usual GP or a GP in their usual general practice.
He said services such as Qoctor fragment care and provide prescriptions, referrals and medical certificates without “sufficient understanding of their medical history and social context”.
A spokesperson for the Pharmacy Guild said at the time that “online provision of services will always be second best to the benefits of a face-to-face conversation with a skilled medicines specialist in the form of a local pharmacist”.
However Dr Boylan told the AJP in response that it is not always necessary for a patient to see a doctor in person to safely access medication.
“It comes down to wisely selecting the conditions and treatments that are amenable to an ‘online’ approach, and then ensuring that a thorough self-screening process takes place,” she said.