Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 2 2018 - Page 12

FEATURE Continuity of Care Availability & Coverage Managing Tests Transitions in Care health system factors are beyond the control or influence of individual physicians. However, many continuity of care issues are within the control or influence of physicians. And the working group put its focus on developing policy expectations related to those elements of continuity of care where physicians have a role to play. (The College’s recommendations regarding broader systems issues that can be a barrier to or facilitator of continuity of care will be set out in a separate ‘white paper’ at a later date. ) In 2016, the working group – which includes family physicians and specialists, physicians who work in teaching and community hospitals, as well as members of the public – began the groundwork for developing a Continuity of Care policy and revising the current Test Re- sults Management policy. The group listened to stakeholders who provided feedback dur- ing two preliminary consultations, did public polling and researched the extensive body of literature on continuity of care issues. Common themes quickly began to emerge, said Dr. Brenda Copps, a Hamilton family physician and chair of the working group. “This included the idea that patients should experience their care as being coordinated and connected, the importance of information flow throughout the health-care system, and the value of being provided care within a sustained physician-patient relationship,” she said. While continuity of care is a broad concept that could include a number of issues, the working group chose to prioritize four key areas as its focus: Availability and Coverage; Managing Tests; Transitions in Care; and 12 DIALOGUE ISSUE 2, 2018 Walk-in Clinics Walk-in Clinics. These areas were identified as perceived areas of risk or areas where the Col- lege had reason for being proactive in setting out expectations. A draft umbrella policy introduces the organizational structure of the draft compan- ion policies. It also sets out the principles of professionalism that underpin the compan- ion policies and the general expectations that have broad application. The four companion policies set out expectations regarding specific elements of practice. All five draft policies are now out for consul- tation. We urge you to visit the Consultation page at www.cpso.on.ca for more informa- tion. Your feedback is an important part of the policy development and review process, so please tell us what you think. Continuity of Care – Umbrella Policy This draft policy focuses on three key facilitators of continu- ity of care, namely: physicians, patient engagement, and the use of technology. With respect to physicians, the draft policy emphasizes the importance of seeing patient interactions within the health-care system as a set of interactions that require oversight and management over time, and not as discrete events. The draft policy sets out a general expecta- tion that physicians collaborate with other health-care providers and enable effective communication and information sharing with others. It is recognized, however, that how physicians discharge these responsibilities will