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Best practices in the pandemic context

When a telephone consultation is not sufficient, virtual care through telehealth can be an effective alternative for interactions with patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A reminder of legal, ethical and professional rules to be taken into consideration:

  •  Confidentiality and protection of personal information obligations remain in effect during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Patients should be encouraged to take steps to participate in virtual care consultations in a space that helps maintain confidentiality;
  • Doctors and healthcare professionals must use technologies recommended and certified by the MSSS (Reacts, Zoom and Teams);
  • Doctors and healthcare professionals must obtain their patients’ consent before using virtual care. They must therefore have, with the patient, a discussion on the telehealth method being used and the risks relating to the protection of personal information associated with electronic communications (see suggested form below);
  • It is important to record all virtual care consultations in the patient’s file, making sure to indicate the technological means that were used;
  • The patient's consent must be recorded in his file to indicate the information given to the patient and receipt of verbal consent when it is not possible to obtain a signed copy of the consent form from the patient.


Example of a form that can be sent to the patient to obtain verbal consent:

Note that all information shared during our virtual encounter is considered confidential. Although telehealth uses secure and certified technologies, there are privacy risks associated with any digital communication. You can help mitigate that risk by being in an environment that facilitates maintaining confidentiality. In addition, this consultation will not be recorded nor used for purposes other than those intended. Please let me know if you understand and agree.