Consultation results on two professional standards

The feedback provided by registrants on two revised standards (previously guidelines) was extremely helpful in developing the final versions approved by the Board at its May meeting. Following is a summary of the results.

Physical Examinations and Procedures

  • 219 physicians completed the survey
  • 94% agreed that the standard clearly described expectations of physician conduct during examinations
  • 98% agreed that the standard was easy to understand
  • 98% agreed that the standard was written in plain language
  • 96% agreed that the standard was well organized

Summary of reoccurring themes

  • Be more specific about the type of examination where a gown or drape is required, and where the patient may wish to have a third party present
  • The expectation that a third party be present for every examination is not reasonable
  • Some situations don’t allow for a patient-selected third party (e.g. emergency room)

Boundary Violations in the Patient-Physician Relationship

  • 346 physicians completed the survey
  • 93% agreed that the standard clearly described a boundary violation
  • 94% agreed that the standard clearly described expectations of physician conduct and behaviour
  • 96% agreed that the standard was easy to understand
  • 97% agreed that the standard was written in plain language
  • 94% agreed that the standard was well organized

Summary of reoccurring themes 

  • Provide more clarity around an “inappropriate gift”
  • Provide more detail about non-sexual boundary violations; give examples
  • Be more specific about forming non-professional relationships with patients; in small communities, personal relationships with patients are often difficult to avoid completely

Note: Not all questions and comments about the standards were directly incorporated into the final versions. The College is currently developing supporting FAQs, which will address some of the questions, and provide specific examples on topics such as gifting, seeking donations for hospital foundation campaigns, and forming non-professional relationships with patients in small communities.

Thank you to all physicians who participated in this consultation. As part of this process, the College also developed a patient information bulletin, which physicians may wish to print and post in waiting areas and examination rooms: Patient-Physician Relationship – What to Expect