Ontario is urging its doctors to resume in-person appointments, saying the need for a “virtual care first approach” has diminished as COVID-19 cases decline and vaccination numbers rise.
In an open letter, the Medical Director of Health, the Ministry of Health and the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons said they have been hearing about practices that do not allow in-person care.
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“While virtual care has allowed access to care during the pandemic, given extensive vaccination coverage and fully accessible PPE, COVID-19 should no longer represent a barrier to in-person practice,” the letter reads. .
There are limits to what virtual care can provide and it is difficult to come up with a “standard of care,” the letter continued.
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“In-person care is essential for certain conditions and services or when physical evaluations are needed to make an appropriate diagnosis or treatment decision. There are many patients for whom the standard of care cannot be met in a virtual-only environment. “
Physicians are now expected to provide in-person care “based on clinical needs and patient preferences.”
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