Ontario is urging its physicians to resume in-person appointments, saying the need for a “virtual care first approach” has diminished as COVID-19 cases decline and vaccination numbers increase.
In an open letter, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ministry of Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario said they have been hearing about offices that are not allowing in-person care.
“While virtual care has enabled access to care during the pandemic, given broad vaccination coverage and fully accessible PPE, COVID-19 should no longer pose a barrier to in-person practice,” the letter read.
There are limits to what virtual care can provide and “standard of care” is difficult to obtain, the letter continued.
“In-person care is essential for certain conditions and services or where physical assessments are necessary to make an appropriate diagnosis or treatment decision. There are many patients for whom the standard of care cannot be met in a solely virtual care environment.”
It is expected that physicians now provide in-person care “based on clinical needs and patient preference.”
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