The Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) are launching a task force to examine virtual care technology and how it can improve access and quality of care for patients across the country.
“It is time for our policies and regulations to evolve to today’s available technology.”
The task force is looking to identify any regulatory changes that will be required for physicians to deliver virtual care to patients across provincial and territorial boundaries. It will also look at administrative challenges, and “explore how health information can be effectively captured and available to both physicians and patients.”
The task force is expected to complete its work by the end of 2019, with recommendations put forth in early 2020. It will be comprised of representatives from regulatory bodies, medical and healthcare organizations, the eHealth industry, among other experts.
“It is time for our policies and regulations to evolve to today’s available technology,” said Gigi Osler, president of the CMA. “Removing barriers can lead to improved access to care for all Canadians.”
This task force comes as Canada’s health tech ecosystem is seeing new additions in the virtual care space. Earlier this month, Telus Health and Babylon announced the launch of a virtual healthcare solution, allowing Canadians access to healthcare support and information through a phone app. MedStack, a Toronto-based compliance solution for healthcare apps used by companies like Maple and CareTeam, also recently raised a $2.4 million oversubscribed seed round.
A 2018 Ipsos poll found that seven in 10 Canadians say they would take advantage of virtual physician visits if they were available, and nine out of 10 physicians support either a national licensing regime for virtual healthcare.
“The CFPC is leading family medicine into adopting new ways of helping family doctors care for their patients in all communities across the country,” adds Dr. Paul Sawchuk, the CFPC’s president. “This physician-led taskforce will support our members in continuing to provide quality, compassionate care through virtual interactions.”
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