The Medical Republic reported recently that Australian regulations governing telehealth had a serious loophole, allowing scripts and repeat specialist referral letters to be written without a human doctor’s oversight.

The journalist refers to the fact that certain services offered by Qoctor don’t require a doctor to oversee its issues, for example repeat referral letters for specialists.

Examination of Qoctor’s website reveals that there are some services where a doctor will review the patient via a Skype call.

The company’s re-branding and relaunch was covered by major news outlet, News.com.au, here. The director of Qoctor, Dr Aifric Boylan, is reported to have said that the company’s eight doctors and one pharmacist on the team are “committed to [their] day jobs, but… [we] all sense the reality that online healthcare is coming and [we] feel that there’s a real risk that corporates and other entities will occupy this space if we as doctors don’t start to adapt”.

Dr Boylan also argues that online health services makes healthcare “more widely accessible”. She says the key to treating any patient is taking a comprehensive history.

What are your thoughts?

 

Source: The Medical Republic – “Can ‘robots’ write referrals and scripts, legally?” on 30 March 2017

Source: News.com.au – “Dr Sicknote expands beyond sickies” on 4 April 2017