After an extended six-month consultation period, CPSO Council approved four inter-related Continuity of Care policies in Fall 2019. Continuity of care is an essential component of patient-centred care and an important contributor to patient safety. While CPSO recognizes physicians are not solely responsible for ensuring continuity of care is achieved, as there are often health system level factors beyond their control that impede or facilitate continuity of care, physicians do have a role to play given the prominent and important role they hold in the health care system.
CPSO’s approach to the policies has been to focus on those issues or elements of continuity of care that are within the control or influence of physicians. The policies set out expectations relating to a range of inter-related issues. They are:
In addition to these policies, CPSO developed a companion Advice to the Profession: Continuity of Care document to help physicians interpret their obligations and provide guidance around how these obligations may be effectively discharged. It also provides some background information on the scope of these policies and the role of patients, technology, and the health care system in facilitating continuity of care.
An additional companion document was developed in December 2020 by CPSO and the Citizen Advisory Group to help patients and caregivers understand physicians’ responsibilities with respect to continuity of care (as set out in the policies) and to outline the steps they can take to complement physicians’ efforts. The Continuity of Care Guide for Patients and Caregivers recognizes that patient engagement in their own care is a key mechanism for facilitating continuity of care. The Guide has fillable and printable tools that can be used by patients and caregivers.