We’ve all been in the situation; you’ve woken one morning with a shocking headache, a fever and terrible cough. You’ve glanced over at your bedside clock and realised you’re expected at work in a little under an hour. There’s no chance you’re making it to work, but that’s the least of your worries. You need a sick certificate to prove to your employer that you are in fact unwell and not going to make it in. But as you scroll through your mobile’s contact book, desperate for your general practitioner’s number, you realise that the earliest you’ll be able to see your doctor is well after lunch. This is too late and doesn’t help you.

Indeed, convenient access to a sick certificate and other medical documentation is one of the key reasons why instant online consultation platforms are gaining traction in the health services sector. Online consultation services offer a wide array of benefits to time-strapped consumers, suffering from either a short-term ailment or a long-term medical condition. These platforms can connect you with qualified doctors, providing you with a much-needed sick certificate to validate your absence from school, work or university.

Seeking online medical advice is also a cost-effective solution, since you don’t have to fork out the money for petrol, parking or a public transport fare when travelling to your doctor. This gives you quality time to ensure that you can deal with your ailment, recover properly and be available for work or study as quickly as possible. For parents who work full-time, it is an easy and stress-free solution that ensures that their child’s illness has been diagnosed properly and that the school has been adequately notified with a recognised sick certificate.

Having said this, it would be perfectly understandable for some consumers to be sceptical of the quality of the service provided and the relative security of their information. Naturally, medical consultations are personal in nature and it is paramount that this information is not made public. As a result, instant medical consultations use digital authentication and 256 bit data encryption on your sick certificate and other medical documentation to guarantee that your information is kept secure and private. At the same time, many of these platforms utilise a five star rating system, which allows every user to rate their Australian registered doctor out of five stars, immediately following their consultation.

Online medical consultations ensure that you don’t have to leave your home when receiving high quality, professional medical advice. This can be particularly beneficial for consumers who may not have the means to travel to their local doctor or medical centre because of inefficient public transportation lack of access to a vehicle or they reside in an isolated location. Likewise, this type of service is very advantageous for older patients who may be house-bound and are struggling to organise in-house consultations with their regular general practitioner. Simultaneously, these platforms are constantly active, meaning that twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, users have access to a wide array of registered doctors who can advise medical treatments or diagnose conditions at any time of the day.

Having said this, it’s not just a sick certificate that these online medical platforms can provide to consumers. Online medical consulting platforms can connect you with doctors who can provide referrals to seek a medical specialist, along with new or repeat prescriptions and various pathology requests. By signing up with these online services, consumers benefit from a punctual medical consultation and near-instantaneous electronic delivery of relevant documentation to take the next step. This could be in the form of a sick certificate, an “ePrescription”, a referral or an electronic radiology request.