Telemedicine

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    Quick Poll

    Should patients know where the physician they are obtaining care from via telemedicine is physically located?

    • Yes (81%, 111 Votes)
    • No (19%, 26 Votes)

    Total Voters: 137

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    Our Process

    Learn more about the College’s consultation process here

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    The College’s Telemedicine policy is currently under review. A revised draft policy has been developed and is being circulated for external consultation. This draft policy sets out the College’s expectations of physicians who practise telemedicine.

    View the draft policy

    We are inviting feedback from all stakeholders, including members of the medical profession, the public, health system organizations and other health professionals on the draft policy.

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    We want to hear your thoughts on the draft policy…

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    Background

    The Telemedicine policy has been in place since 2007. In accordance with the College’s regular policy review cycle, a review of the Telemedicine policy commenced in the spring of 2013. This included a preliminary external consultation on the current policy.

    A Working Group was struck to undertake this policy review. The Working Group considered all of the research and feedback obtained to date and developed a draft policy.

    Given the evolution of technology and increased use of telemedicine in diverse practice settings, the draft policy contains a number of new or revised expectations to ensure it is clear, up-to-date and comprehensive. In addition, the general format and structure of the draft policy has been updated to be consistent with the College’s current policies.

    Key Features of the Draft

          • The expectations set out in the draft policy are based on the notion that the practice of telemedicine is the practice of medicine; as such, physicians’ existing legal and professional obligations with respect to practising the profession remain applicable when providing care via telemedicine.
          • The draft policy clarifies that a physician-patient relationship is established via telemedicine in the same circumstances as when the relationship is established in-person.
          • The draft policy contains general expectations for the practice of telemedicine:
                • It states that physicians must evaluate whether telemedicine is an appropriate way to provide or assist in the provision of care by considering whether providing care in this manner will enable physicians to satisfy all relevant and applicable legal and professional obligations, and meet the standard of care.
                • It specifies the conditions for the appropriate use of telemedicine.
          • The draft policy also contains specific expectations for practising telemedicine across borders for CPSO members and non-CPSO members. They include the following new expectations:
                • Physicians who refer patients to out-of-province physicians must take reasonable steps to assure themselves that the referral is appropriate.
                • Out-of province physicians are expected to comply with licensing requirements in their “home” jurisdiction and meet the standard of care.

    Have Your Say

    We would like to hear your thoughts on the draft policy.

    In particular, your views on the following would be helpful:

          • Are there areas of concern related to the practise of telemedicine that are not addressed in this document? If so, what are they?
          • Do you think the expectations for physicians are reasonable?
          • Do you think the policy will adequately protect patients and the public?

    Please provide your feedback by August 5, 2014

    Next Steps

    The College is committed to ensuring that the draft policy reflects current practice issues, embodies the values and duties of medical professionalism, and is consistent with the College’s mandate to protect the public. The feedback obtained during this consultation will be carefully reviewed and used to evaluate the draft. While it may not be possible to ensure that every comment or suggested edit will be incorporated into the final policy, all comments will be carefully considered.

    Final decisions regarding policy revisions are made by College Council. Once a final version has been approved, a copy will be posted on this page as well as the College’s website.

    To ensure transparency, the College will post all consultation feedback in accordance with our posting guidelines.

    We value your feedback and thank you for participating in our policy review process.

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    Contact us by email

    Email

    Send us your feedback by mail:

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
    80 College Street
    Toronto, Ontario
    M5G2E2

    Attention: Policy Department