Sick leave via WhatsApp: AU bill makes medical visit unnecessary

Since the end of 2018, a Hamburg-based company has caused a stir: AU-Schein is offering a new service for sick leave due to a cold with WhatsApp – without the annoying doctor’s visit. Doctors and employers are skeptical about this service.

To peel yourself out of bed and a flat with a simple cold, to meet the doctor’s further noses and coughing patients, is neither inviting nor health-promoting.

And all this just to get the yellow certificate of incapacity for the employer. Because depending on the employment contract, some bosses or HR departments want to receive it on the first day of sick leave.

Lawyer Can Ansay believes that this procedure is much easier today. That’s why he launched the company AU-Schein.

So patients get the coveted AU certificate – for nine euros

In order to receive a sick leave, the user must call the company page and fill in a corresponding questionnaire there. As the symptoms of a cold are always the same, the patient receives a defined questionnaire. Other medical conditions do not support the service.

The further dialogue with a doctor is done exclusively via the end-to-end encrypted messenger WhatsApp. The patient submits his personal data as well as his insurance card by photo.

According to the company founder Ansay, this approach is in line with the European General Data Protection Regulation.

Against payment of nine euros via Paypal, which are not reimbursed by the health insurance, the patient receives via messenger the certificate as a photo or by post in print.

According to their own information, doctors with German approbation work for AU-Schein.

Telemedicine via WhatsApp – a relaxed remote treatment ban makes it possible

All this makes possible a change in the professional code of the medical association of the federal state Schleswig-Holstein. It deviates from the model occupational code of the German Medical Association and therefore permits the use of telemedicine.

Therefore, since May 2018, this type of online treatment has been permissible in almost every federal state in Germany on a case-by-case basis, even systematically in Schleswig-Holstein.

Equally important: The responsible private doctor, who travels daily from Hamburg to Schleswig-Holstein, has no own practice. Also, she can not show a certified health certificate.

Nevertheless, the health insurance companies have to recognize the incapacity to work, even if it issues a doctor without a cash register. What sounds comfortable and simple for sick workers, however, encounters considerable resistance from employers, doctors and data protection officers.

The legal department of the medical association is currently examining the business model. Critic point here is the difference between remote treatment and remote exhibition. It is also because the competent chamber in Schleswig-Holstein in the regulation of the professional code had not included a treatment via messenger.

Sickness via messenger: Opportunity for Blaumacher or future-oriented medical service?

Whatever the test of this new medical offer by AU-Schein emanating: The service spares the annoying doctor’s visit to a profane cold and reduces the risks of further infection.

Equally advantageous: The service can be used 24 hours a day. This means that office hours and appointments with this clinical picture are a thing of the past. If the patient submits his order for the AU certificate on weekdays in the morning, he will receive the yellow certificate by WhatsApp until the evening.

Even on vacation, patients can take advantage of the offer so that holidays do not turn into sick days.

However, to protect employers from fraud by their employees, AU-Schein only allows a patient to use the online service twice a year. How and if this controls the Hamburg company is questionable.

Nevertheless, this step is basically very effective and should be considered. After all, AU bill will only come with its supply of sales if it is recognized and accepted by employers, health insurance companies and doctors alike.

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