Update on consultation results: (1) Emailing Patient Information, (2) Walk-in, Urgent Care and Multi-physician Clinics

The College recently held two consultations, seeking feedback from registrants on one professional guideline and one practice standard.

A total of 380 physicians provided their feedback on the Emailing Patient Information professional guideline in a consultation which ran from February 15 to March 5, 2019. Multiple choice data indicated the majority of physicians currently “rarely” or “never” utilize email in their current practice. The vast majority either strongly or somewhat agreed that the guideline is clear in outlining what is expected of physicians and effective in promoting patient confidentiality, while roughly half of the participants indicated that the guideline is operable in practice.

The most common themes from the qualitative data were:

  • Email encryption is not practical.
  • Patients who are educated on the benefits and risks should have the choice between ease of access versus security of information.
  • Texting guidance should be provided.
  • Differences in electronic communication requirements for physician to patient and physician to physician (or allied health-care provider) should be clearly distinguished.

The consultation on the Walk-in, Urgent Care and Multi-physician Clinics practice standard, held March 6 to March 27, 2019, drew feedback from 426 physicians. Of these respondents, 58 per cent reported that they currently work in a walk-in, urgent care or multi-physician clinic. Multiple choice data showed that the vast majority either strongly or somewhat agree that the standard is clear and effective in protecting patient safety. Just over half indicated that the standard is supportive of team-based care and further insight into the governance of nurse practitioners was requested.

When asked if there is anything in the standard physicians would like to see added, removed, or revised, the following themes emerged:

  • The settings described are all very different, and should be governed by unique standards.
  • The requirement for providing after-hours care is not appropriate in some circumstances.
  • Responsibilities for ordering tests and monitoring results are not clear.
  • Online provision of primary care is not addressed.

The College thanks all those who participated in the recent consultations. Feedback gathered will be shared with the Patient Relations, Professional Standards and Ethics Committee to help guide further revisions.