Standards of Practice

OsteopathyBC Standards of Practice

An Osteopathic Practitioner will conduct himself or herself in his or her professional duties, and all services and functions of practice in accordance with the guidelines and standards set out in this document.

Section A: Professionalism

1. Professional Conduct & Responsibilities

The professional member must provide optimal levels of professional osteopathic services and demonstrate excellence in practice by promoting the patient’s health and well being through responsible, compassionate and respectful conduct and protecting them from harm.

In his/her professional role the Osteopathic Practitioner shall:

  1. Adhere to the OsteopathyBC/SPMPO Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice, policies and procedures.
  2. Conduct oneself in a manner in all settings meriting the respect of the public and other professionals.
  3. Treat each patient with respect, dignity and worth, making sure that the practitioners personal beliefs and values do not affect patient care.
  4. Use professional communications that adapts to the needs of the individual and in a manner that patients, colleagues and other professionals can understand.
  5. Provide an environment that is safe and comfortable for the patient and meets all legal requirements for health and safety.
  6. Use standard precautions to insure professional hygienic practices and maintain a level of personal hygiene appropriate for practitioners in the therapeutic setting.
  7. Wear clothing that is clean, modest, and professional.
  8. Work in partnership with the patient to perform an accurate needs assessment, develop a plan of care with the patient, and update and adapt the plan as needed.
  9. Respect the patient’s need for modesty and dignity by using appropriate clothing/draping to protect the patient’s physical and emotional privacy.
  10. Respect the traditions and practices of other professionals and foster collegial relationships.
  11. When using the OsteopathyBC/SPMPO logo on business cards, brochures, advertisements, and stationery, do so only with consent of the board of directors.
  12. Act with civility and courtesy towards colleagues and coworkers.
  13. Uphold the reputation of the profession and the OsteopathyBC/SPMPO through his or her conduct. This includes maintaining the same standards of conduct in online activities (emails, blogs, social networks, websites) as would be expected elsewhere.
  14. Not act in a manner that purports to represent the OsteopathyBC/SPMPO in any way unless with prior written approval by the board.
  15. Refrain from criticizing colleagues in public, or in a clinical setting, in a manner which casts doubts on the colleague's professional competence. This does not apply to the critical evaluation of published works nor to expert testimony in court.

If an Osteopathic Practitioner has reason to believe that a colleague is behaving in an unprofessional manner, or that his or her standard of practice falls substantially below acceptable standards then, if practicable, the colleague must be approached in a helpful way. If this is not practicable, then the Osteopathic Practitioner should report the behaviour to the Directors of the Society, which will then have to consider appropriate action.

2. Abiding By Laws

In his/her professional role the Osteopathic Practitioner shall:

  1. Obey all applicable municipal/local, provincial, and federal laws.
  2. Refrain from any behavior that results in illegal, discriminatory, or unethical actions.
  3. Accept responsibility for their own actions.
  4. Report to the proper authorities any alleged violations of the law by other Osteopathic Practitioners.
  5. Maintain accurate and truthful records.
  6. Report to OsteopathyBC/SPMPO any criminal convictions regarding him/herself and other Osteopathic Practitioners.
  7. Report to OsteopathyBC/SPMPO any pending litigation and resulting resolution related to his/her professional practice.
  8. Respect existing publishing rights and copyright laws.

3. Confidentiality

The Osteopathic Practitioner shall respect the rights of privacy and confidentiality of patient information and safeguard all records. In his/her professional role the Osteopathic Practitioner shall:

  1. Protect the patient’s identity in social conversations, all advertisements, and any and all other manners unless requested by the patient in writing, medically necessary, or required by law in the province of British Columbia.
  2. Solicit only information that is relevant to the professional patient/practitioner relationship.
  3. Share pertinent information about the patient with third parties when required by law.
  4. Maintain the patient files for a minimum period of 16 years after the discontinuance of treatment; if the patient is a minor when treatment is discontinued, files must be retained for 16 years after the patient reaches the age of majority. Either the Osteopathic Practitioner maintains the file or if the patient has consented, the file can stay with the clinic or be transferred to another health practitioner. If a therapist leaves a clinic and wants to keep a copy of a file as well as the clinic where the patient was seen would like to keep a copy of the patient file, make sure the patient has consented to two copies of their file existing.
  5. Store and dispose of patient files in a secure manner, including all files held electronically.
  6. Obtain prior consent from patients in order to record electronically or have an observer/student in a session.
  7. Ensure the patient's anonymity when using data for training, research, or publication, unless there is written consent.
  8. Not, unless required by law, divulge information about a patient unless the patient specifically authorizes the release in writing. Even under these circumstances, an Osteopathic Practitioner should be aware of the necessity of preserving confidentiality as much as possible. For example, in court, an Osteopathic Practitioner may request the judge or magistrate to permit the suppression of information not relevant to the matter being decided.

4. Integrity

The Osteopathic Practitioner shall practice with honesty, integrity, and lawfulness in the business of Osteopathic manual practice. In his/her professional role the Osteopathic Practitioner shall:

  1. Maintain adequate and customary liability insurance for Osteopathic manual practice in the province of British Columbia in an amount specified from time to time by the OsteopathyBC/SPMPO Board of Directors, and must provide a copy of said insurance annually with their membership renewal. Members must also maintain their indemnity insurance after retirement, in accordance with current limitations standards.
  2. Accurately and truthfully inform the public of services provided.
  3. Honestly represent all professional qualifications and affiliation.
  4. Promote his/her business with integrity and avoid potential and actual conflicts of interest.
  5. Advertise in a manner that is honest, dignified, and representative of services that can be delivered, is not misleading to the public, and remains consistent with the OsteopathyBC/SPMPO Code of Ethics.
  6. Display/discuss schedule of fees in advance of the session that are clearly understood by the patient or potential patient.
  7. Follow acceptable accounting practices.
  8. File all applicable municipal, provincial and federal taxes.
  9. Maintain accurate financial records, appointment records, tax reports and receipts for at least six years.

Section B: Competency & Practice

Osteopathic Practitioners should confine themselves to clinical assessment and treatment and practice in those fields of Osteopathic manual practice in which they have training and which are recognized generally by the profession as being beneficial. Training refers to the accumulation of knowledge and skills attained in undergraduate and post-graduate education that is evaluated at a level of competence for Osteopathic manual practice.

5. Competence

  1. Minimum Acceptable Standards:
    • Assess a patient by taking a case history and by conducting a physical and clinical examination to determine areas of restriction and physical dysfunction.
    • To recognize contra-indications to osteopathic treatment.
    • To know when to refer a patient to his general practitioner or other health professional.
    • To plan and to carry out a suitable course of treatment.
    • To be attentive to unrealistic expectations, and explain what can and cannot be reasonably expected.
    • To know what to do in the case of adverse reaction to treatment.
    • To keep proper records which are accurate, comprehensive, easily understood and completed promptly following a consultation.
    • Support patients in caring for themselves to improve and maintain their own health.
    • To be aware of their limitations of professional competence and to work within them.
  2. Osteopathic Practitioners must perform only testing and assessment services for which they are competent.
  3. Osteopathic Practitioners must not allow the use of assessment and or treatment techniques by unqualified persons under their supervision. Qualified persons may however perform techniques under direct supervision for the purpose of education.
  4. An Osteopathic Practitioner must not approve of or collaborate in the use of osteopathic techniques by untrained persons except when those persons are in supervised training.
  5. Osteopathic Practitioners must select competent staff and must assign responsibilities compatible with staff skills and experiences.
  6. Osteopathic Practitioners must refrain from offering professional services when their personal problems or conflicts may cause harm to a patient or others.
  7. Osteopathic Practitioners must use assessment instruments in the manner for which they were intended and trained.

6. Continuing Education

  1. Osteopathic Practitioners must maintain his/her knowledge and practice at an acceptable level of competence, and be compliant with the OsteopathyBC/SPMPO continuing professional development (CPD) policy.

7. Communication & Consent

  1. Osteopathic Practitioners must obtain informed consent prior to initiating any assessment and treatment of the patient. If the patient is unable to provide informed consent, an appropriate third party or guardian must provide consent.
  2. Osteopathic Practitioners must protect the interests of patients who are minors or who are unable to give voluntary consent.
  3. Osteopathic Practitioners must provide explanations to patients prior to assessment about the nature and purposes of assessment and the specific uses of results.
  4. Osteopathic Practitioners must inform his or her patients at the commencement of a course of treatment of the reasonable foreseeable implications, including material risks, complications and reactions, and explain the nature and purpose of the treatment.
  5. Osteopathic Practitioners must respect the wish of a patient for a second opinion and must, if practicable, help the patient obtain a competent second opinion.