French health note website: health chiefs criticize the “uberization of medicine”

French health authorities are launching legal action against a website offering to provide employees with valid sickness certificates.

Arretmaladie.fr, which translates to “sick leave”, was officially launched Tuesday in France. It gives workers the option to video call a doctor and get up to three days’ illness notice for common illnesses including cold, headache, stress, menstrual pain, cystitis and back pain.

Patients pay € 25 for the service – the same price a doctor in France would charge for a consultation – which is then reimbursed by the social security benefit system and private health insurance.

The sickness notice is sent to the patient by e-mail, who can then forward it to their employer to justify an absence.

But the National Council of Physicians (CNOM) and the National Health Insurance Fund (CNAM) have jointly launched legal action against the website, calling for its immediate closure.

“The Order of Physicians resolutely places itself in a dynamic of support for the new avenues offered by e-health, but it unreservedly condemns any attempt to uberize medicine”, declared the head of the CNOM, Patrick Bouet. in a report.

The CNAM added that the site “departs from medical ethics”.

“Sick days [notes] are not consumer products that can be distributed at the request of patients. They come under a medical prescription and must be the result of the doctor’s initiative, “he said.

The service was first launched in Germany in December 2018 and has since issued more than 30,000 illness notices. The company’s website states that “although teleconsultation is not offered in Germany, no abuse or misdiagnosis has been reported.”

It also refutes any risk of abuse in France in its FAQ section, writing that French workers are among the “most present” at work in Europe according to a 2019 survey, which found that 62% of employees showed up for work. despite their illness.

The average French worker took 18.6 days of sick leave in 2018, according to the last annual report d’Ayming, a consulting company. This represents an increase of 8% compared to the previous year with an absenteeism rate established at 5.1%.

In Germany, workers took an average of 18.5 sick days in 2018 according to the BKK health insurance company, the highest tally in a decade, with an absenteeism rate reaching 4.67%.

In contrast, UK workers did not report to work for an average of 4.4 days due to illness in 2018, the National Statistics Office noted, noting that “the sickness absence rate was relatively stable between 2010 and 2018 and stood at 2.0% in 2018”.


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Robert T. Luebke

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