Duties and responsibilities

Expectations of physicians in practice
Physicians should speak with patients about their alternative medicine treatments and, as much as possible, provide guidance on potential negative interactions.
Physicians can take steps to mitigate the medical-legal risks of patients taking photos and making video and audio recordings during healthcare encounters.
Physicians who are familiar with regulatory requirements governing organ and tissue donations can more effectively meet their obligations and mitigate the potential for complaints.
Physicians regularly encounter patients or family members who behave aggressively and make demands that may be unrealistic and potentially harmful. In their medical practice, physicians need strategies and tools to manage conflict and such challenging behaviours.
An overview of obligations and issues for doctors when providing or discussing vaccinations with patients or legal guardians.
Physicians can take reasonable steps to maintain the best interests of the patient in the midst of family disputes concerning the care of children or of elder patients.
The management of elder abuse cases is an increasingly important aspect of physicians’ practices, though determining the appropriateness of actions to address suspected abuse can be challenging.
How physicians can take steps to minimize medical-legal risk when using mobile health applications (mHealth) in their practice.
By practising in a collegial manner, physicians may enhance the health outcomes of their patients and themselves.
End-of-life treatment decisions can be difficult for both physicians and patients, but many issues can be avoided by following the key concepts outlined.
The practice of marking transcribed reports or entries “dictated but not read” gives rise to medical-legal risks and can create uncertainty for those relying on that information in providing patient care.
A discussion of physicians’ obligations when certifying a patient’s death.
A discussion of consent issues that may arise when caring for adults with diminished mental capacity (competency).
Physicians should understand the role of coroners and medical examiners in Canada, and how and when to provide information to them.
Physicians can work collaboratively with physician assistants, but should be aware of the potential risks inherent in this working relationship and how these can be managed.
Patient handovers can be a time of high risk. Patient safety experts recommend various strategies to improve the performance of this task.
A review of the most recent 5 years of CMPA medical-legal cases involving cosmetic procedures identified a number of consent deficiency issues.
Protecting the privacy of patient information when using digital communication channels, including email, portals, and social media platforms.
Physicians in non-surgical disciplines who perform invasive procedures may be exposed to medical-legal risks, though these can be effectively mitigated.
While workplace conflict is inevitable, there are steps physicians can take to de-escalate and resolve disputes before they impact patient care.
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DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this learning material is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific professional medical or legal advice, nor to constitute a "standard of care" for Canadian healthcare professionals. The use of CMPA learning resources is subject to the foregoing as well as the CMPA's Terms of Use.