States of Guernsey has announced plans to test the use of digital medical certificates on the island.
It is one of the first new digital services being developed by the States in partnership with Agilisys Guernsey as part of the Smart Guernsey programme.
The move is one of the first initiatives to emerge after the contract with the company was finalised in September. It is hoped this will lead to patients being able to receive their medical certificates via mobile device, use them to claim benefits online and ultimately remove the need for paper versions.
The trial has been developed by the island’s Committee for Employment and Social Security, working with the Primary Care Committee, and a group of GPs, and is due to go live in the next few weeks.
Certificates will be issued to patients who wish to take part and sent to their employers, with both being invited to provide feedback.
Fast track benefits
Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, president of the committee, said: "I very much hope that patients offered the option of a digital medical certificate during the trial will take it up. It will fast track benefit claims and enable patients to send a digital version of the employer's copy of the certificate to their place of work without delay."
Dr Paul Williams, chair of the Primary Care Committee said: "GPs have very much welcomed this opportunity to support the development of a digital medical certificate. Not only will it support patients to claim their benefit more quickly, but employers will be informed about the reason for absence from work more quickly too.
“This digital version gives GPs more opportunity to provide employers with advice to support their staff back to work as quickly as possible."
As the next stage in the Smart Guernsey programme, the States is identifying where digital solutions can be introduced to improve efficiency and the quality of service.
Its chief executive, Paul Whitfield, said: "We're still in the first few weeks of this partnership, but it's great that very shortly we'll see solutions being trialled. Over the coming year, we will see more services beginning to develop this kind of digital solution.
“Our ultimate ambition is to improve how people can access our services and our own efficiency, and through that deliver a better customer experience."
Image by Eva Heinsbroek