Update on three recently revised practice standards

The College has recently published three revised practice standards: (1) Charging for Uninsured Services, (2) Medical Records, Data Stewardship and Confidentiality of Personal Health Information, and (3) Sale and Dispensing of Drugs

The revised Charging for Uninsured Services practice standard, which combines the College’s previous Missed Appointments and Annual Fees to Patients professional guidelines, was sent out for consultation in April 2019. A total of 312 physicians and 44 members of the public participated in the consultation. The College made several revisions to the standard based on the feedback gathered, including adding new sections to address physicians’ ethical responsibilities for setting reasonable fees that account for the patient’s ability to pay, communicating fees to patients, and expectations when insured and uninsured services are combined. Along with the revised practice standard, the College created a patient resource, which identifies what a patient can expect when obtaining an uninsured service from their physician.

The Medical Records, Data Stewardship and Confidentiality of Personal Health Information practice standard was revised based on input gathered from the BC Coroners Service, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC, and the Patient Relations, Practice Standards and Ethics Committee. The revised version of the standard includes new sections which outline expectations related to technology and transferring a copy of the medical record. Following the publication of this revised standard, the College archived the Emailing Patient Information professional guideline and the Data Stewardship Framework. The College sought feedback from physicians on the revised standard to evaluate whether the principles outlined are clear and easy to understand. This consultation closed on July 31, 2019 and analysis of the feedback is currently being completed. Based on the findings elicited from the feedback, further revisions may be made to the standard. 

The Sale and Dispensing of Drugs practice standard underwent an extensive review process, inclusive of two separate consultations. The first consultation was held in October 2018 and gathered feedback from 120 physicians and 24 members of the public. The standard was revised based on the feedback received, then sent out for a second consultation in December 2018, which gathered further input from 90 physicians. Throughout this consultation process, the College collaborated with other regulatory colleges in the province to develop consistent principles, and sought feedback from key stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Health, at multiple stages in the process. The recently published standard incorporates several key revisions, including a revised title, added clarity regarding its application, and a list of comprehensive standards that address physicians’ requirements and ethical responsibilities when selling or dispensing drugs. A patient resource has been published in addition to the practice standard to help communicate what patients can expect when purchasing a drug from their physician.

The College thanks all those who provided their feedback during the consultation process.

Questions about College standards or consultation processes can be directed to communications@cpsbc.ca.