If you’re asking yourself, “What’s Updoc?”, the answer is simple: it’s a new way of getting a doctor’s note without actually getting up, heading out and sitting around in a waiting room when you should be at home recovering.
The Aussie health startup connects you with partner doctors who can review your symptoms and give you a medical certificate if you need to submit one to claim sick leave.
“I found that whenever I was sick I needed to book an appointment, which I often couldn’t get as most doctors can only see a limited number of people per week,” co-founder Dylan Coyne says in a statement. “Then I needed to travel while sick if I could even get a doctor, wait in an awkward consultation room, tell a GP, ‘I’m sick and I need a medical certificate for work,’ and then travel home after paying.”
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That’s why he teamed up with Clifton Hodgkinson (ex-product manager for Uber Australia and lead product manager for Canva) to launch Updoc last year, with the goal of making it as easy as possible to get a much-needed medical certificate.
First you have to fill out a questionnaire that asks for details like your full name, birthday and address, as well as questions on how you’re feeling. Is it back pain, the flu, or something else? A migraine, period pain, or anxiety?
Then you’re asked to describe your symptoms in detail – how long you’ve been sick, what sensations you’re experiencing and how severely. Hit send and you can rest and recuperate while waiting to hear back.
Your questionnaire gets sent to an independent, registered Australian doctor for a quick review, and they might get in touch if they have more questions about your condition. Most consultations are reviewed within the hour, then they’ll send you a medical certificate – easy as.
You can choose to receive a physical copy in the post for $14.95 (with an express option for $39.95) or via email for $29.95 – they’ll send it over within a day or two, but it usually just takes a few hours. Updoc also has a yearly subscription option for $249 that lets you request as many sick leave certificates as you need.
Since launching, Updoc has been used to facilitate doctor-patient interaction and provide medical certificates tens of thousands of times.
All medical certificates issued through Updoc meet the Fair Work Act 2009 requirements, and your employer can validate the certificate’s authenticity online through a handy portal (they won’t see your questionnaire, which is confidential). Doctors can’t backdate a medical certificate, and using Updoc doesn’t guarantee you’ll get one – the doctors will assess your symptoms and if they don’t think you’re sick enough for a cert, you’ll get a full refund.
Patients can access unlimited telehealth consultations via Updoc for $49.95 a month. This rate includes access to a range of services, including medical advice, medical certificates and prescriptions, as determined by the partner practitioner. From September 1, 2023, revised telehealth guidelines come into play to help close the gap between online prescriptions and good medical practice. The new guidelines specify that when prescribing for a patient, there must be a real-time direct consultation via phone call or video chat.
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