NEW! GUIDELINE - Physician Use of Social Media
Council adopted a new guideline addressing physicians’ professional, ethical and legal obligations in the appropriate use of social media. It is not intended to restrict physicians’ rights to freedom of speech, or to create any new expectations. However, it does remind physicians that their existing obligations of professional and ethical conduct are the same whether interacting in person or online through social media. The document provides specific guidelines for physicians with respect to privacy, confidentiality of patient information, professional boundaries, professionalism, and legal obligations.
POLICY - Medical Practice Coverage
Council conducted a sunset review of this policy and adopted an amended version of this policy that establishes expectations of all physicians involved in direct patient care regarding physician availability, after-hours coverage, and coverage during temporary absences from practice with a view to enhancing continuity of care and access to coordinated care. The amendments are fairly extensive, including the addition of a ‘scope’ and ‘definitions’ sections. The policy is described as applying to all physicians (primary care and specialists/consultants) providing care as part of a sustained physician-patient relationship regardless of their service model. For example, the expectations of the policy apply whether physicians work at urgent care/walk-in/episodic care clinics/virtual care services, and whether care is provided in-person or virtually. The policy was also amended to include specific reference to office phone requirements, after-hours management of test results, availability to respond to after-hours inquiries from other health-care providers, coordinating care for temporary absences from practice, the use of voicemail and email, and practice coverage during office hours when unable to accommodate access.
Additional information is included in the article here .
NEW! POLICY – Blood-borne Viruses: Screening, Reporting and Monitoring of Physicians/Medical Students
[LINK TO BE MADE AVAILABLE ONCE POLICY IN EFFECT]
While this policy was adopted by Council at its March meeting, it will not come into force until the amended bylaw 24.1 (“Reporting of blood-borne viruses”) is published in the Saskatchewan Gazette. This is anticipated to occur sometime in June 2021. When the policy comes into force, the current policy "Hepatitis B/C/HIV-Infected Physicians/Medical Students and Physician/Medical Students with AIDS " will be rescinded.
Consistent with the existing policy and bylaw, physicians and medical students who perform or may perform or assist in performing exposure prone procedures (EPPs) as defined in the policy are responsible to know their status, and to report their seropositive status. The primary changes that will come with the new policy and amended bylaw are threefold:
- Monitoring- This will be performed on an arm’s length basis by the Physician Health Program (PHP), rather than through the Registrar’s office;
- Testing schedule - Instead of the general responsibility that physicians/medical students who perform or assist in performing EPPs know their status, a specific testing schedule has been included: annually for HBV (unless confirmed to be immune), q3 yearly for HCV and HIV;
- Reporting - Reporting of seropositive status is only required for physicians/medical students who perform or may perform / assist or may assist in performing EPPs.
All physicians have recently received two letters from the Registrar addressing this pending policy and amended bylaw. Additional information is found in the article here .