Australians have been securing a medical certificate for various reasons, but not everyone is taking advantage of the convenience of getting one from an online doctor.
A medical certificate is required to show that a person is unfit for work not just that he/she underwent a medical examination.
What is an Online Medical Certificate?
An online medical certificate is no different from having one written by a doctor after a physical examination at the clinic. It is legally valid and can be used for other purposes. The advent of telehealth services provides another platform for patients to secure proof of a medical evaluation.
You no longer have to go to a physical clinic to undergo a physical examination since you can do everything virtually.
For instance, you can consult with a GP or a doctor through a Zoom call where you relay all the symptoms of your condition for an accurate diagnosis. In the same vein, you may also choose chat as an option if you are not comfortable with a video call.
However, the online doctor may still call you for clarification if your condition is much more complicated than initially thought.
What is Included in the Digital Medical Certificate?
The written statement follows a format that should give the employer or the receiver of the document most of the details regarding the medical evaluation.
You will see in the medical certificate the following:
● The name of the doctor
● The name of the patient
● The date of the examination
● The date when the doctor issued the medical certificate
● A general description of the evaluation
● The applicable time that you may use the certificate
Generally, the medical certificate does not contain the diagnosis itself. However, the document is valid to explain an employee’s absence from work, a job application, or whether the patient is fit to travel.
In some cases, however, the medical certificate may contain the doctor’s findings, mainly when you apply for an insurance claim. The system’s primary aim is to ensure patient information confidentiality.
What Can You Do With Your Online Medical Certificate?
Getting an online medical certificate in Australia is legally permissible for whatever purpose it serves.
Essentially, with this document, you can:
● Justify your successive days of absences from work
● Claim a tax offset for expenses related to senior care or disability
● Proof that you are fit to fly in case you need to go somewhere else
● Apply for a disabled parking privilege
● Claim an insurance
● Apply for a driver’s permit in some instances, like when you are visually impaired, for instance
● Apply for a job in cases when a medical certificate from an online doctor is required
What Does the Law Say About the Online Medical Certificate for Employees?
The Fair Work Act of 2009 recognises the online medical certificate for part-time and tenured employees to justify absences from work due to sickness. But the document can also be used when you must stay home to care for an ill family member.
Typically, The employer does not contest the medical certificate from an online doctor because it is legally acceptable proof in any circumstance.
How many days must you be absent from work that requires a medical certificate?
The law only says that the employee has to notify the employer as soon as possible. The notification must also include the potential number of days. According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, the employer may ask for a medical certificate even for just a day of absence. Brush up on your organisational policy or ask your HR for a more precise answer.
Can You Ask Your Online Doctor to Issue a Medical Certificate Without Examination?
It’s illegal to force your online doctor to issue a certificate without first evaluating your condition or conducting a physical examination.
Another instance that warrants refusal is when you ask the online doctor to backdate the medical certificate. Generally, the physician would refuse to issue the document, especially if they have not been involved in examining you on the dates you were supposed to be sick.
However, the doctor may issue a certificate if you still suffer from the symptoms of a lingering disease. That said, it’s extremely rare for them to accommodate your request.
Most people are probably unaware of the seriousness of forging a medical certificate. It is a crime because it is fraudulent. As a result, a legitimate online doctor will never issue you a medical certificate if you haven’t had a consultation.
When you secure your online medical certificate in Australia, the doctor’s consultation is recorded and archived as part of your patient’s history. Online platforms offering telehealth services make it easier for you to get a copy for future reference if you already have an active account. Again, you do not have to visit a clinic to physically apply for a medical certificate since you can process everything online.