Ontario doctors advised to shift back to in-person care over virtual

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Ontario doctors advised to shift back to in-person care over virtual

Dr. Kieran Moore says the decision still rests with individual physicians

Author of the article:

Antonella Artuso

Publishing date:

Oct 14, 2021  •  3 hours ago  •  1 minute read  •  15 Comments

Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's chief medical officer of health speaks during a press conference regarding COVID-19 at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.
Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health speaks during a press conference regarding COVID-19 at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Wednesday, September 29, 2021. Photo by Evan Buhler /THE CANADIAN PRESS

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Ontario doctors are being told that a virtual “first” approach is no longer necessary and that they should be offering in-person care to patients where appropriate.

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Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said in a memo to doctors that the pressures that led to prioritizing virtual care during the pandemic have diminished.

“We know that many physicians are striking the right balance between virtual and in-person care, however, collectively we are increasingly hearing about physicians’ offices that are not providing in-person care,” Moore said.

“While virtual care has enabled access to care during the pandemic, given broad vaccination coverage and fully accessible PPE (personal protection equipment), COVID-19 should no longer pose a barrier to in-person practice.”

There are limits to virtual care that make it “often difficult” to meet the standard of care required, he said.

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Moore stopped short of calling for a full return to in-person care, stating the decision still rests with individual physicians, but said the expectation is that all doctors are providing some in-person care based on clinical needs and patient preference.

Moore emphasized Thursday that his message to doctors was “purely a recommendation,” but he said he’s concerned about patients who have not had a physical exam or been screened for common illnesses or conditions during the pandemic.

“I have been a family doctor and an emergency physician. I absolutely understand that from a clinical practice vantage point it’s so important to see people in person,” Moore said. “You can’t do a physical exam, you can’t take a blood pressure, you can’t provide immunization through any virtual means and patients need to physically get seen and physically examined.”

aartuso@postmedia.com

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