In July 2020, I wrote a post on this blog to guide family doctors on how to ramp up in-person visits in their practices. A year later, the topic is still timely although the context is different: we are now fifteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic, a large proportion of the population is vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 . How should primary care operate going forward?
Family medicine practices have been open and busy during the pandemic…the vast majority of practices have continued to see patients in-person. Most are taking a virtual-first approach—seeing patients virtually first and then asking patients to come in-person if needed.
So how should primary care practices balance in-person and virtual visits going forward to deliver care that is timely, effective, patient-centred, and equitable but that also keeps patients and staff safe?
It’s time to move away from a virtual-first approach towards a patient-directed approach. In a virtual first-approach, clinicians are the first judge on what mode of care is appropriate. In a patient-directed approach, patients are the first judge of appropriateness. A patient-directed approach would support more equitable and efficient care.
Read the full article in the CMAJ Blogs
Dr Tara Kiran is a family physician at the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team and the Fidani Chair of Improvement and Innovation at the University of Toronto.
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