Calling in Sick Just Got a Whole Lot Easier, Thanks to This Online Service

Doctors note

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You’ve woken up with a sore throat and runny nose, and your entire body aches. ‘There’s no way I can make it to work today,’ you think. Your next thought? ‘Oh geez, I’m probably going to need to get myself to a medical centre so I can get a doctor’s note’.

It’s not ideal, really. The day you take off should be giving you plenty of time to recharge and rest so that, hopefully, you’ll be ready to work the next day. Or the day after that. You shouldn’t be wasting that rest time waiting around at the medical centre for a note giving you permission to, well, rest.

Doctors note Updoc
Image: Getty Images

Fortunately for you, we found a way you can avoid getting out of get the note: Updoc. The platform, which launched a little over a year ago, can give you a medical certificate through an Australian registered partner doctor usually within an hour, and without needing to schedule an appointment.

“All our certificates are valid documents and meet all the requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009 which requires providing enough evidence that the employee was genuinely entitled to the sick or carer’s leave,” reads Updoc’s website. “Employers can validate the authenticity of certificates through the employer verify section of the website.”

The way it works is that you complete a short form explaining your symptoms and generally why you don’t feel so great. Then, usually within an hour, an independent, registered Australian partner doctor will review the form, and, if they approve, send you a medical certificate over e-mail.

“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,” says Updoc co-founder Dylan Coyne, previously a product manager at a number of tech companies.

“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.”

Coyne says he and co-founder Clifton Hodgkinson spoke to hundreds of doctors, and discovered they were often burdened with admin decision-making and unable to focus on actually making effective clinical decisions.

“This leaves so many patients in Australia without what should be easy access to healthcare,” says Coyne.

Hodgkinson, a psychology graduate from rural Queensland and former employee or Canva and Uber, says the software enables partner doctors — registered Australian health practitioners who provide their own independent consultations through the platform — to make effective clinical decisions in an optimised digital environment.

“We’ve developed software that enables proper clinical decision-making without all the stress and wasted time that comes with an in-person consultation,” says Hodgkinson.

While you can access 24/7 telehealth, text-based consultations with registered Australian partner doctors for a free subscription to Updoc, requesting a medical certificate is $14.95. If the partner doctor decides it’s not appropriate to give you a medical certificate, Updoc will give you a full refund.

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