Obtaining Consent for Virtual Care Appointments

 

During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the doctors are available for consultation by phone or video. The following is the disclaimer for use of telephone of video. Please have a read through and let our staff know if you consent prior to your appointment. 

Just like online shopping Virtual Care - which includes telephone, video and email communication between doctor and patient - has some inherent privacy and security risks. You must be aware that your health information may be intercepted or unintentionally disclosed. We want to make sure you understand this before we proceed. In order to improve privacy and confidentiality, you should also take steps to participate in this virtual care encounter in a private setting and should not use an employer’s or someone else’s computer/device as they may be able to access your information.

 

If it is determined you require a physical exam, you may still need to be assessed in person. You should also understand that virtual care is not a substitute for attending the Emergency Department if urgent care is needed.

Communicating via Email

The staff and doctors are available by e-mail through Medeo Health. By providing your e-mail address, you will be able to carry on a secure conversation using a third party e-mail application.  Our staff will send you this e-mail disclaimer initially, and if you are able to provide a response with consent, the conversation can follow electronically.

The following is our disclaimer of risks for Email:


- The privacy and security of email communication cannot be guaranteed.  
- Employers and online services may have a legal right to inspect and keep emails that pass through their system.  
- Email is easier to falsify than handwritten or signed hard copies. In addition, it is impossible to verify the true identity of the sender, or to ensure that only the recipient can read the email once it has been sent.  
- Emails can introduce viruses into a computer system, and potentially damage or disrupt the computer.  
- Email can be forwarded, intercepted, circulated, stored or even changed without the knowledge or permission of the physician or the patient
- Email senders can easily misaddress an email, resulting in it being sent to many unintended and unknown recipients.  
- Email is indelible. Even after the sender and recipient have deleted their copies of the email, back-up copies may exist on a computer or in cyberspace.  
- Use of email to discuss sensitive information can increase the risk of such information being disclosed to third parties.  
- Email can be used as evidence in court.  

Conditions for using Email
- Emails to or from the patient concerning diagnosis or treatment may be made part of the patient’s medical record.  
- The physician, health provider, or administrative team member of the WMC may forward emails internally to other members of the WMC and to those involved, as necessary, for diagnosis, treatment, health care operations, and other handling. The physician, health provider, or administrative team member of the WMC will not, however, forward emails to independent third parties without the patient’s prior written consent, except as authorized or required by law.  
- Although the physician, health provider, or administrative team member of the WMC will endeavour to read and respond promptly to an email from the patient, the physician, health provider, or administrative team member of the WMC cannot guarantee that any particular email will be read and responded to within any particular period of time. Thus, the patient should not use email for medical emergencies or other time-sensitive matters.  
- Email communication is not an appropriate substitute for clinical examinations or in-person visits. The patient is responsible for following up on the physician, health provider, or administrative team member of the WMC’s email and for scheduling appointments where warranted.  
- If the patient’s email requires or invites a response from the physician, health provider, or administrative team member of the WMC and the patient has not received a response within a reasonable time period it is the patient’s responsibility to follow up to determine whether the intended recipient received the email and when the recipient will respond.  
- The patient should not use email for communication regarding sensitive medical information, such as sexually transmitted disease, AIDS/HIV, mental health, developmental disability, or substance abuse. Similarly, the physician, health provider, or administrative team member of the WMC will not discuss such matters over email.  

Patients must acknowledge that they have read and fully understand consent to electronic communication as outlined above. One must understand the risks associated with the communication of email between any physician, health provider, or administrative team member of the WMC and consents to the conditions outline herein, as well as any other instructions that the physician, health provider, or administrative team member of the WMC may impose to communicate with patients by email. One must acknowledge any physician, health provider, or administrative team member of the WMC right to, upon the provision of written notice; withdraw the option of communicating through email.

© 2017 by Walkley Medical Centre.