"There are limits to what can be done virtually," top health officials wrote.
There's a chance that your next doctor's appointment could be done in person instead of over the phone or online. The Ontario Government gave the green light for doctors to meet back up with their patients face-to-face due to high COVID-19 vax rates in the province.
In a letter addressed to Ontario physicians on October 13, top health officials encouraged doctors across the province to cut back on virtual appointments as they are increasingly hearing complaints about doctors' offices not providing in-person care. These officials included Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, Assistant Deputy Minister Patrick Dicerni, and CEO of College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario Dr. Nancy Whitmore.
"There are limits to what can be done virtually and the standard of care is often difficult to meet in a virtual care environment," they wrote.
"While physicians are ultimately responsible for determining the appropriateness of providing virtual care in the circumstances presented, it is important to remember that the standard of care must always be met," 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."
Physicians were encouraged to virtually care for their patients first as per public health guidance earlier on in the pandemic, but with 83% of eligible Ontarians now fully vaccinated, a return to in-person appointments is safer.