Pharmacy Virtual Care Guidelines in Canada

Virtual care has become more prominent due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Pharmacists across Canada are providing professional services through virtual platforms to ensure continuity of care. Here we have outlined current provincial virtual care guidelines and their respective government reimbursement information. ‍

Ashrin Jan & May Zheng

June 24, 2020

Atlantic Provinces

Download PDF version here

Nova Scotia

  • Pharmacists may provide virtual prescribing and consultation services
  • Prescription renewals as well as minor ailment assessment/prescribing conducted virtually will be publicly-funded until June 30, 2020
  • Pharmacy managers are responsible for ensuring patient’s security and confidentiality with a virtual consultation and must ensure that the platform used is approved by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness

Resources: 

Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists - Pharmacy Practice Guidelines for Virtual Pharmacy During COVID-19:

Pharmacists’ Bulletin - May 2020:

Pharmacists’ Bulletin - March 2020:

Newfoundland and Labrador 

  • Pharmacists may provide pharmacy services such as medication reviews, counselling, and deprescribing consultations virtually or over-the-phone

Resources: 

CPhA - Pharmacy Services Implemented Since COVID-19:


New Brunswick

  • Pharmacists may provide clinical services virtually for patients in long-term care facilities 

Resources: 

Guidance for Pharmacies Providing Services to Long-Term Care Facilities:


Prince Edward Island

Insufficient information available regarding virtual care provision by pharmacists.

Central Provinces

Download PDF version here

Ontario

  • Pharmacists may provide virtual care when on-site care is deemed unsafe or inaccessible
  • Virtual care may be appropriate for but not limited to situations such as counselling a COVID-19 positive patient, counselling an elderly or vulnerable patient to support self-isolation, observing opioid agonist ingestion, or demonstrating how to use a medical device
  • MedsChecks that are conducted virtually or over the phone and considered to be medically necessary will be reimbursed by the ODB program

Resources: 

OPA Guide to Providing Virtual Care to Patients: 

Notice: Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program Changes and Guidance for Dispensers during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency:

FAQ regarding Notice: Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program Changes and Guidance for Dispensers During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency:

Quebec

Insufficient information available regarding virtual care provision by pharmacists.

Prairie Provinces

Download PDF version here

Manitoba

  • Pharmacists authorized to prescribe were able to write prescriptions for an assessment conducted virtually even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Due to the pandemic, authorized pharmacists may also write prescriptions for an assessment conducted over-the-phone
  • There is no government reimbursement for minor ailments assessment and prescribing, regardless of it being virtual or on-site

Resources:

CPHM Practice Direction Prescribing: 

CPHM Friday Five - May 15, 2020: 

CPHM Friday Five - April 17, 2020:

CPhA Publicly Funded Pharmacy Services by Province:


Saskatchewan

  • Pharmacists may provide SMAP, MACPP, PACT, and minor ailments consultations through virtual platforms 
  • Virtual care for these services are reimbursed by the provincial drug benefit program
  • At this time, pharmacies are required to utilize the Pexip platform to receive reimbursement for professional services. However, other platforms will be allowed on a case by case basis when authorized by the provincial drug benefit program

Resources:

Pharmacy Information Bulletin April 21, 2020 - Virtual Visits Using Pexip During COVID-19 Pandemic: 

CPhA - Pharmacy Services Implemented Since COVID-19:

Pharmacy Information Bulletin April 21, 2020 - Virtual Visits Using Pexip During COVID-19 Pandemic: 


Alberta

  • Pharmacists may provide clinical services via virtual care platforms if required (i.e. writing a prescription for a patient assessment conducted virtually)
  • When providing virtual care, pharmacists must follow protocols as outlined by the Alberta College of Pharmacy
  • Comprehensive documentation of the clinical services provided virtually (i.e. verbal patient consent for CACP and SMMA) is required for reimbursement claims

Resources: 

COVID-19 Guidance-Providing Virtual Care to Patients:

Alberta Blue Cross Compliance Verification Benefact Update (April 2020)

Alberta Blue Cross Pharmacy Benefact (March 2020) 


North and West Coast Regions

Download PDF version here

British Columbia

  • Pharmacists may provide virtual telephone counselling
  • Pharmacists may not conduct virtual medication reviews
  • Virtual care delivered by pharmacists is not reimbursed by the provincial drug benefit program

Resources:

CPhA Pharmacy Services Implemented Since COVID-19:

UBC Pharmacists Clinic Virtual Care Experience Webinar (May 7, 2020): 


Yukon

Insufficient information available regarding virtual care provision by pharmacists.


Northwest Territories 

Insufficient information available regarding virtual care provision by pharmacists.


Nunavut

Insufficient information available regarding virtual care provision by pharmacists.

Graphics: Ashrin Jan

Editors: Rui Su

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog is to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace official guidelines. As information is constantly changing; ensure to check the appropriate organization(s) for the most up-to-date guidelines. This document is recent as of June 23, 2020; and will continually be updated as new guidelines come out.
© 2020 MedMe Health Ltd. All rights reserved.

WRITTEN BY:

Ashrin Jan & May Zheng

Ashrin and May are 4th-year PharmD students at the University of Toronto.

MedMe is a thought leader and software provider in pharmacy care

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