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

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

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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.

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.

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