Continuity of Care – you responded

Dina Baras Are You Up to Standard?, Messenger

After the new Continuity of Care standard (formerly After-Hours Access to Care and Preventing Follow­up Care Failures) took effect June 11, the College surveyed members to benchmark current compliance, as well as to offer individualized support to physicians challenged by the standard.

The high number of physicians reporting compliance is very encouraging. Almost 70 physicians have offered to share their processes with the College to help others develop practical solutions. The College has also responded individually to more than 40 physicians at their request.

Overall, the survey confirmed the vast majority of our members support the standard, which strives to meet the needs of patients while enabling physicians to have a reasonable life-balance.

Recognizing that no individual physician can be available to patients 24/7, the standard does expect physicians to have a system in place for after-hours triage of patients currently in their care and to receive and respond to critical test results.

Such a system starts with good communication with your patients about appropriate follow-up based on medical need, and may include:

  • Collaboration with colleagues in an on-call rotation (solo practice is acceptable, practice in isolation is not) or
  • Pursuing a formal agreement with a healthcare provider or referral service such as Health Link. Referral to another provider or such a service without an agreement does not absolve physicians of their responsibility to have a system in place.

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