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Guideline

Referral and Consultation for Patients with a Family Physician

Professional Standards Regarding Referral and Consultation for Patients with a Family Physician Preamble This professional standard specifies the College's requirements of physicians regarding an effective referral and consultation process for those patients with a primary care physician or other provider. Referring physicians and consulting physicians have a professional and ethical obligation to share the responsibility of supporting patients through the referral- consultation process. Professional Standards Professional communication between referring and consulting physicians must always serve the best interests of patients and should be respectful, collegial, collaborative and courteous. Consulting physicians must: Ensure they have a system in place to prioritize patients according to [...]

Telemedicine Services

Professional Standards Regarding the Provision of Telemedicine Services Preamble The College recognizes the role telemedicine plays in providing care and access to care, especially in remote and underserviced areas. The College maintains jurisdiction over physicians licensed in Nova Scotia regardless of where (i.e., physical location) or how (i.e., in-person or via telemedicine) they practice medicine. Physicians should be aware that practicing medicine using only electronic communication or across different jurisdictions, may affect their liability protection, and they should disclose such information to their liability protection provider. Requirements for treating patients via telemedicine vary by jurisdiction. The medical regulatory authority of the jurisdiction where the patient is located may require the physician to hold an [...]

Physician Use of Social Media

Professional Standards and Guidelines Regarding Physician Use of Social Media Professional Standards Physicians are responsible to act in a manner that upholds the professional standards and ethics of the medical profession at all times. Expectations of professional and ethical conduct are the same whether physicians are interacting in person or online through social media. When using social media, physicians must: Not communicate with individual patients about anything pertaining to their medical care. Do not doctor on social media; Ensure all communications are professional, ethical and in keeping with the standards of the profession. For example, physicians should refrain from portraying any unprofessional images of themselves [...]

Reducing the Size of a Medical Practice

Professional Standards and Guidelines Regarding Reducing the Size of a Medical Practice Preamble Tension exists between the professional duty not to abandon patients and the physician's freedom to manage the size of their practice. Physicians may not discriminate against patients at any time including when considering discharging them from their practice. As providers of professional services, physicians are bound by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination regarding provision of or access to services or facilities on the basis of age, race, colour, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability or mental disability, an irrational fear [...]

Temporarily or Permanently Closing a Medical Practice

Guidelines on Responsibilities when Permanently or Temporarily Closing a Medical Practice Preamble This standard sets out the expectations of the College regarding physicians who are closing their practice temporarily or permanently. The following standards apply to elective, unplanned, or imposed practice closures. The standard exists in order to ensure the continuity of care and the preservation of patient records. Professional Standards College notification  Physicians must notify the College of their practice closure and provide the College with their forwarding address. Physicians must also provide the College with the location of their medical record storage. Patient notification  Physicians must provide notice to patients of the closure of [...]

Sexual Misconduct in the Physician-Patient Relationship

Professional Standards and Guidelines Regarding Sexual Misconduct in the Physician-Patient Relationship Preamble Exploitation of a patient is professional misconduct. Sexualized behaviour with a patient is exploitation. Sexualized behaviour with a former patient may be exploitation. This standard reflects ethical responsibilities of physicians set out in the Canadian Medical Association’s Code of Ethics. In particular, the following sections of the Code are reflected: Consider first the well-being of the patient. Practice the profession of medicine in a manner that treats patients with dignity and as a person worthy of respect. Do not exploit patients for [...]

Patient Consent to Treatment

Professional Standard and Guidelines Regarding Informed Patient Consent to Treatment Professional Standard Fundamental requirements for valid consent include: It must be voluntary; It must be given by a patient who has capacity; It must be specific as to the treatment; and It must be informed. Physicians must ensure that consent is obtained from patients before performing an examination or treatment, except where specifically permitted by law.1 The College recognizes that further aspects of consent are dynamic and subject to change. It is the responsibility of physicians to keep current with the state of the law on consent. [...]

Third-Party Examinations and Reports

Professional Standards and Guidelines Regarding Third-Party Examinations and Reports Preamble This standard applies to all physicians who prepare third-party reports, or who conduct medical examinations for a third-party report.  The standards and guidelines as set out in this document do not limit a physician’s mandatory reporting obligations. For the purposes of this document, the following definitions apply: “Third-party report” refers to medical information or a professional opinion, unrelated to the provision of health care, provided by a treating physician or independent medical examiner for the purposes of an external process such as applications for insurance benefits or legal proceedings. “Treating physician” is [...]

Treating Self and Family Members

Professional Standards and Guidelines Regarding Treating Self and Family Members Preamble Whenever a physician treats someone with whom he or she has a personal relationship, there is a risk that the relationship will affect the physician’s ability to provide good-quality, clinically objective care.  Similar issues exist when physicians engage in self-treatment. Providing appropriate medical care within the context of a personal relationship is problematic because of the difficulty in defining and maintaining appropriate boundaries. For the purposes of this document the following definitions apply: “Family member” means a physician’s spouse or partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild; a parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild of the physician’s spouse or partner; [...]

Accepting New Patients

Professional Standard and Guidelines Regarding Accepting New Patients Preamble This professional standard and guidelines applies to all physicians accepting new patients in their practice. This standard reflects ethical responsibilities of physicians set out in the Canadian Medical Association’s Code of Ethics. Physicians who are accepting new patients into their practices should use a first-come, first-served approach. Decisions to accept or refuse new patients must be made in good faith. With respect to the specifics that may arise, the College provides the following direction. Professional Standard Physicians may not discriminate against patients at any time including when considering them [...]