A novel concept from an Australian GP, Doctus wants to become Australia’s premier online doctor, providing advice on contraception, digestion, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis and cholesterol.
Australian-based online medical company, Doctus has been launched to offer a convenient and cost-effective way for people to access health advice on simple, low-risk medical conditions.
Founded by GP, Dr. Rodney Beckwith and his daughter, Sarah Beckwith, the online platform provides an alternative to a visit to the local GP. Doctus gives Australians access to online doctor’s consultations from the comfort of the patient’s own home or office, by-passing the need for the $7 co-payment initiative proposed by the Federal Government in last week’s Budget release.
The system takes the form of a straightforward online questionnaire that can be completed at the patient’s convenience. This is then reviewed by Doctus’ Australian registered team of doctors. The prescribed medication can then be delivered direct to the patients, or they can choose to have a paper prescription posted to be filled at their pharmacy of choice.
Doctus claims that patients will benefit from the reduced cost of consultation, which won’t be affected by any new health-related taxes. Further, patients that have difficulty accessing a GP derive benefit by avoiding the need to take time out of work or to drive long distances.
“Doctus saves our patients money – no co-payment, no gap, no petrol, no parking costs, and no time off work. At the same time, every Doctus consultation saves the healthcare system money because we are not Medicare eligible,” said Dr. Beckwith, who is the Medical Director at Doctus.
“We believe there should be more efficiency in health care. Computer technology should be able to make the process easier and cheaper for patients, more time efficient for doctors and support patient safety. I call the concept ‘computer-assisted diagnosis’.”
As a step toward a technologically-advanced future that many have predicted for some time, Doctus’ computer-assisted diagnosis creates efficiency in determining cause and treatment for patients, directly linking them with a range of pharmaceutical products that aren’t considered dangerous. As such, Doctus will never prescribe medications like narcotics (as in morphine and other derivatives) or benzodiazepines (valium).
However, for the same reason, Doctus also states that it isn’t trying to completely replace a visit to the GP, as there are many complex illnesses that it can’t help treat. For patients suffering from the likes of diabetes, chronic pain, or severe psychiatric conditions like bipolar disease, a face-to-face alternative is still required.
“Doctus in no way recommends abandoning the traditional GP visit. We are traditional GPs ourselves and we see patients every day in normal practice settings. If you need a top-up of an uncomplicated medication you can use the Doctus service to tide you over.” Dr. Beckwith said.