Since the onset of the pandemic, more healthcare providers are offering patients forms of virtual care. To ensure we provide physicians with relevant, up-to-date resources and clear expectations to guide this evolving aspect of medical practice, CPSA spent much of 2021 working on updates to our standards of practice relating to virtual care.
Consultation on proposed changes to the Telemedicine standard, along with the Episodic Care and Continuity of Care standards took place from Sept. 20 to Oct. 20, 2021. We received a lot of feedback from consultation participants, and CPSA Council approved the revised standards at their December meeting in 2021. In anticipation of the revised standards’ implementation, CPSA heard concerns from regulated members and our partners about an updated clause in the Continuity of Care standard. A revision was proposed and approved by Council in March.
Some key updates to the Continuity of Care standard:
- Preamble added to clarify the standard applies to all regulated members and to acknowledge that continuity of care does not mean personally available at all times;
- Discussing the importance of completing investigations in a timely manner with patients;
- Clarifying that copying another regulated healthcare provider on requisitions or investigations does not remove the ordering member’s responsibility for follow-up;
- Explicitly stating that ordering investigations under another healthcare provider’s name is inappropriate; and
- The addition of clause 10, which allows members to order under another HCP’s name in specific circumstances.
Some key updates to the Episodic Care standard:
- Preamble added to clarify the standard applies to all regulated members;
- Requiring primary care providers, where available, be informed of episodic care encounters;
- Clarifying that copying another regulated healthcare provider on requisitions or investigations does not remove the ordering member’s responsibility for follow-up; and
- Clarifying that after-hours coverage, in accordance with the Continuity of Care standard, is required.
Please review the updated Continuity of Care and Episodic Care standards to ensure a full understanding of their expectations before implementation. Advice to the Profession documents are currently being reviewed and will be available soon.
Questions? We’re here to help. Please contact Chantelle Dick, Standards of Practice Advisor, at Chantelle.Dick@cpsa.ab.ca.