Qoctor

Qoctor is an online service that enables you to get the prescriptions that you regularly use without needing to book a doctor’s appointment. The service also provides medical certificates with just a few clicks and a Skype chat, and ensures that all your ordered prescription medication is delivered to your doorstep.

Qoctor began as an idea to offer patients a choice of obtaining some of the basic things that they needed online without having to visit a doctor’s office.

The service initially offered only medical certificates but quickly realized that it could also deal with basic medical issues that patients are expected to see a doctor for even if they do not require a face to face consultation. These basic medical issues include embarrassing ones such as sexually transmitted diseases, erectile dysfunction, or having a case of head lice. To obtain a medical certificate, you will be asked a few questions before you can book some chat time on Skype with a doctor, who will confirm that you are sick but do not require further medical intervention. The medical certificate will cost you $19.99, while referrals to other specialists also cost $19.99. A request for a prescription involves the doctor offering you information about the condition you are suffering from and then giving you options on the medication that you would like to purchase or get a subscription for.

The doctor will hereafter ask you a series of questions to check if the medication is appropriate for you, then the prescription is sent to you via Australia post. The cost of a paper prescription is $19.99 for the doctor’s fee including Registered Post delivery services, but Express Post costs an additional $4.99. The same charges also apply to delivery of medication. Ultimately the service expects you to answer questions and to choose your medication correctly, and this requires that you trust yourself to take care of your own health.

This online service is unlike others in the market because it expects you to make the decisions about your treatment instead of the doctor performing a diagnosis and making an appropriate decision. In as much as it offers patient flexibility and choice, this makes it a tricky service because it may be misused to obtain medication not unsuitable for the user regarding their circumstance. Furthermore, the service is different because it initially uses a questionnaire to ask medical questions and only sets up a Skype video consultation with a doctor when necessary.

This means that you do not have direct and quick access to a doctor at all times the way other online services operate. Even though the questionnaire enables you to provide pertinent information as you desire, a physical or virtual doctor would nevertheless have the ability to ask the right questions that can generate a clearer diagnosis.

Pros and cons

Pros

• The service offers convenience for busy individuals who have already had the necessary health checks and confirmed that they are fine. As such, Qoctor offers them flexibility. • It offers patient autonomy and choice so that patients do not have to seek out a doctor for something simple, for example contraceptive pills. • Patient data is securely encrypted to prevent hacking and theft. Cons • There is no personalized doctor involvement required for an individual to order prescriptions, and this could lead to misdiagnosis. • Patient safety is also at risk because the doctors are prescribing medication for a patient that they do not have sufficient or prior information about. • The doctors do not have a means of confirming the information provided by the patients, so the risk of misdiagnosis is high. • It is possible for an individual to easily order for medication without ever being diagnosed, by falsely answering a few questions. • There are limited patient-doctor interactions and this could prevent formation of a meaningful and ongoing relationship to enhance the quality of treatment in the long term. • No Medicare rebates are available for this service.

Scores Ease of use: 70/100 Convenience factor: 90/100 Technology: 20/100

Total Score 180/300.