Chair's Message – Continuity of Care
I hope many of you have been following the consultation process for policies and initiatives at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, (CPSO).
The latest policy for consultation is the Continuity of Care policy, which is actually a series of four policies under the Continuity of Care umbrella. These four policies are; Availability and Coverage, Managing Tests, Transitions in Care, and Walk-in-Clinics.
Within these policies are key recommendations that will affect the day to day practice of family physicians. In my view, these have been a long time coming.
Some of the key components of the policies, are the following:
- Family physicians need to have arrangements for coordination of patient care after hours and during absences from practice. Gone will be the days of having a phone message that sends people after hours to ER or Walk-In-Clinics. You will need to collaborate with colleagues and have a coverage system in place for urgent care issues and abnormal test results on your patients. By the way, this should also mean that you have someone available to pronounce and certify death when your patients die at home of natural causes.
- The policies also call for improved transitions and handover of care for hospitalized patients, and ambulatory patients that you are concerned about, and following carefully.
- There will be an increased onus on doctors in Walk-in-clinics, and our consultant colleagues, for better communication with family physicians about patient encounters, consultations and test results.
I encourage all of you to review this policy, if you have not already done so, and provide your feedback to the CPSO. While the policy calls for increased attention and diligence on our part, the outcome should be enhanced patient safety and satisfaction, and I think family doctors will be well satisfied as well.