“We're focused on the corporate aspects," said Dr. Snehal Patel, CEO of the MyDoc digital health platform which connects employees with medical providers.
Currently, the online platform is capable of carrying out a number of medical services which are typically performed in-person by a doctor – this includes providing MCs.
Employees provide information via text or video chat in order to obtain an MC – the patient’s information is then sent to their employer’s HR department and organisations are able to make their own decisions about individual cases and potential MC abuse.
According to MOM's Conditions of Employment 2016 report, about 60 per cent of employees took sick leave in 2015, with employees taking an average of 14.2 days sick days every year.
A separate study from CareerBuilder found that almost one in five Singapore workers (18.3 per cent) have faked an illness in order to obtain an MC. Of these, half (49.1 per cent) revealed they would play fake an illness three or more times a year.
However, the platform doesn’t just offer online MCs – its largest user base is employees who have a chronic illness and may regularly miss work due to appointments and follow-ups.
While it can’t draw blood, do tests or handle emergencies, it can facilitate online check-ups, deliver test results and prescribe medication – although this must be picked up at a partnering pharmacy. These services mean employees don’t have to visit the hospital or doctor’s office quite so often.
"Telehealth is perfect for managing up to 75 per cent of all clinic visits," says Dr. Patel. "Most patients can provide sufficient information via a video consultation."
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The co-founder of a Singapore start-up has promised his online platform is designed to help employers and genuinely sick staff members, rather than making it easier to falsely attain medical certificates.