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Clarification: Virtual Care standard of practice

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August Messenger 2023, Professionalism & Standards | Posted August 10, 2023
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July 12, 2023

CPSA recognizes and supports the highest level of care to Albertans in a safe and efficient manner. As such, we recognize the value of multiple avenues for patients to access care.

Virtual care is a valuable option, especially in situations where there may be limited access to in-person health care, including remote locations or underserved areas.

It would be a misinterpretation of the Virtual Care standard to read it as limiting virtual care to patients with whom an in-person relationship has already been established. The Virtual Care standard requires regulated members providing virtual care to have either the means to see a patient in person when indicated or an agreement with a physical clinic within reasonable travel proximity to the patient. In these situations, the healthcare provider who provides in-person care does not have to be the same CPSA-regulated member who provided the initial virtual care if there is appropriate continuity of care for the patient.

Accordingly, it remains inappropriate for CPSA members to simply refer a virtual patient to the emergency department. In situations where the emergency department is the most appropriate in-person care option, regulated members are expected to direct patients in accordance with the Referral Consultation standard (i.e., the healthcare provider, urgent care or emergency department is notified in advance of the patient attending, with all appropriate information necessary to provide care).

If you have questions or would like guidance related to CPSA’s standards of practice, please contact

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