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DigiMC- GovTech Singapore’s solution for paper MCs

Image credit: tech.gov.sg/ GovTech

When it comes to falling sick, one of the biggest challenges faced by the workforce is having to hand that slip of paper which certifies that their medical leave has been approved by a doctor.

About one million physical MCs were produced by SingHealth in 2017.

GovTech’s Open Government Products (OGP) division has used technology to provide a solution to this. Called DigiMC, this digital medical certificate system will allow for patients to e-send their medical certificates to their employers.

Features of DigiMC

 This digital medical certificate system allows clinics and hospitals to a generate medical certificate (MCs) in digital form.

They fulfil three criteria which are:

  • Digital MCs must be verifiable as true copies
  • Sharable between healthcare provider, patients and employers
  • Easy to incorporate into existing workflows

The system comes with an existing MC creation interface where doctors can save all the information on. It will then generate a digital MC at a URL which will be sent to the patient’s registered phone number via SMS.

The URL link can then be forwarded to the employers.

These digital MCs save the trouble of ever misplacing physical MCs. The SMS messages sent can also be backed up on commercial Cloud services, which can be accessed to again at any point of time.

Safety concerns

The system comes with privacy concerns such as confidential information being shared via online services.

OGP had created safety features to counter such security breach occurrences.

These include a frontend safeguard which only allows users to access their digital MCs by unlocking the access with their date of birth.

This is just a one-time unlock system, where users can continue to access the digital MC after unlocking once.

The team has plans to revamp the system by including a relock function which will lock the system after seven days since it was accessed. It can be accessed again by keying in the date of birth.

To avoid sending the URL link containing the digital MC to the wrong recipient, physical verification still must be done by the patient updating their mobile number onto the system. If the wrong mobile number has been provided, the lock system requiring the date of birth will act as a security gate. \

Authenticity of MC

Each digital MC will be authenticated by hosting it on a government-affiliated web domain (mc.gov.sg).

A unique hash which contains a series of alphanumeric characters will be assigned at the end of the URL. This will ensure that each digital MC has a uniquely identifiable key.

The digital MC system has been designed such that it can seamlessly integrate with current healthcare data systems.

Backend data from the hospital systems which are managed by the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) will be sent to DigiMC via authenticated APIs.

The system has been piloted at the Singapore General Hospital and the National Heart Centre Singapore.

Plans for the near future

The OGP team is looking at finding a critical user base for DigiMC. It aims to roll out DigiMC across all SingHealth institutions by early 2020.

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