GovTech Technology Agency (GovTech) recently announced that it plans to replace existing paper medical certificates (MCs) with digital ones across all SingHealth institutions by early 2020.
This will be part of a new system called DigiMC, which has been piloted at the Singapore General Hospital and the National Heart Centre Singapore.
These digital MCs will be issued alongside physical MCs for a few months, before the latter is eventually phased out.
However, patients can still request for a hardcopy after it has been phased out should they require it.
How Does Digital MCs Work?
Patients will receive a text message that includes a link to access the digital MC, which can be forwarded to their employers via SMS or URL.
This link will not expire, and digital MCs are also less likely to be misplaced.
To prevent unauthorised access, digital MCs will be locked with the patient’s date of birth.
This serves as an “additional safeguard” on the off-chance the information is sent to the wrong number or a wrong mobile number was registered, said GovTech.
It adds that it will be a one-time unlock. Once the digital MC is unlocked, subsequent users would not have to unlock it again.
How Secure Is It?
To ramp up its security, GovTech is looking at adding more security features.
For one, the development team is planning to implement a re-lock with the patient’s date of birth seven days after it is issued to avoid exposure in the long run.
The digital MC will also need to be unlocked using the patient’s date of birth for every subsequent view.
With regards to concerns about the possibility of doctored MCs, GovTech said that every digital MC generated via DigiMC will be hosted on a government-affiliated web domain.
The URL will also contain a unique string of alphanumeric characters to ensure that each digital MC has a uniquely identifiable key, making it harder for the digital MC to be altered.
Even if the digital MC is downloaded and saved as a PDF, employers can still validate the document using the URL printed at the bottom of the digital MC.
Featured Image Credit: Reuters