New OTN Agreements Effective October 2016

August 11, 2016

In recent years, OTN has increasingly enhanced products and services to offer you more choice, simplicity and access to everything you need to practice telemedicine, through OTNhub.ca

Another improvement we are introducing is a simplified version of the OTNhub Terms of Service and OTNhub User Agreement, which will take effect on October 24, 2016; consolidating eight separate product agreements to a single set of comprehensive agreements that include all OTN products and services.

Click here to download the liability-comparison.

For your convenience, we provide a high level description of changes OTN is introducing in these two documents;

Summary of Changes

  1. One set of OTNhub agreements, reduced from eight separate product agreements;
  2. Now online: agreements and notifications will now exist online;
  3. Standardized and simplified language;
  4. Mutual Liability language has been revised to provide members with increased liability protection;
  5. Service Suspension and Termination: OTN will provide a 30-day notice period prior to termination of OTNhub services; however, we reserve the right to suspend services without notice, for example during a healthcare provider labour dispute;
  6. Language about Fees is more explicit, for example, MOHLTC funded members are not required to pay;
  7. Reference to Applicable Laws has been added; binding OTN and Members by the laws in effect in Ontario;
  8. Language has been clarified to better reflect OTN’s online delivery of products and services:

a. Training is available online and it will be the Member’s responsibility to complete each product-related module. In the past, training on OTN services was a prerequisite for service activation. This is no longer the case;
b. Scheduling of patient appointments and patient contact will be the Member’s accountability. In the past, this function was completed by OTN’s Scheduling Coordinators;
c. Customer Care is referenced in one place, just one number to call. Previous agreements referenced more than one number;
d. Shared Accounts responsibilities; Delegate roles and shared accounts responsibilities are now defined, and were not in earlier versions;
e. Directory Listings: professional profiles and site profiles should be kept current by Members, and will be published in the Directory. Previous versions referenced the Directory but were less clear about these requirements;
f. Data: OTN collects aggregate utilization data and shares with LHINS, other customers and the MOHLTC. This language was not clearly stated in previous agreements;
g. PHI retention and record keeping is the Member Organization’s/Member’s responsibility. This language was not applied consistently in previous agreements.
h. A new section, Definitions and Acronyms is included for quick reference;

Note: the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) has participated in a full review and considers these agreements to be acceptable. The continued support of the CMPA reinforces OTN’s commitment to produce high-quality agreements that are fair and transparent to members.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ last updated: October 17, 2016

1. Why is OTN changing the Terms of Service and User Agreements?

OTN has increasingly enhanced products and services to offer you more choice, simplicity and access to everything you need to practice telemedicine, through OTNhub.ca.

Another improvement we are now introducing is a simplified version of the OTNhub Terms of Service and OTNhub User Agreement, which will take effect on October 24, 2016; consolidating eight separate product agreements into a single set of comprehensive agreements that include all OTN products and services.

2. What are the differences between the two agreements?

The OTNhub User Agreement is designed for individual Members, while the OTNhub Terms of Service are designed for Member Organizations.  Each agreement outlines role specific accountabilities when conducting telemedicine within the OTNhub.

The OTNhub User Agreement is signed by each OTNhub Member upon first-time login which states that the Member is personally accountable for their actions while using OTN Services including protecting the privacy of personal health information and maintaining security practices.

The OTNhub Terms of Service is signed by a Member Organization’s authorized signing officer and constitutes a contract between OTN and such organization. It outlines the role the Member Organization plays in providing telemedicine services via the OTNhub.

3. What changes have been made?

OTN’s eight separate product agreements have been consolidated into one, accessible online, with new simplified standard language for consistency and readability.  These agreements reflect similar language to those currently in place, and incorporate suggestions made in the past by Members.  See the OTN Agreements are Changing document for further information.

4. How does this benefit me as a member?

You will only have one agreement that outlines OTN’s products and services, rather than multiple agreements.  These documents will always be available online in the OTNhub, for your easy access and review at any time.

5. Where can I find these new documents?

You can find the OTNhub User Agreement and the OTNhub Terms of Service  under “My Accounts” as well as in the footer in the OTNhub.

6. When will these terms come into effect?

Effective October 24, 2016, current Member Organizations will be governed by the new OTNhub Terms of Service, and individual Members will be governed by the new OTNhub User Agreement. The terms outlined in your existing agreements will remain in effect until October 24, 2016, regardless of the end date indicated within any existing agreements.

Effective August 19, 2016, any new Member of existing Member Organizations, along with any new Member Organization and its Members, will be governed by the new agreements.

7. Do I have to sign new agreements?

There is no need to re-sign agreements, as they have been moved to an online platform. Your continued use of the OTNhub confirms your acceptance of the terms. You will receive online notifications when substantial changes are made to these agreements in the future.

8. Who can I contact if I have any questions regarding the User Agreement or Terms of Service?

Please feel free to email newagreements@otn.ca and we will answer your question directly.

9. What is the definition of Member organizations referred to in the change of Terms of Service and User Agreement?

A Member organization refers to any entity or sole practitioner that will authorize individuals to use OTN services.  A Member refers to any user of OTN services.  In the instance of a sole practitioner that individual would need to agree to the terms in each document, as there are different obligations under each.

10. Do we need to sign additional agreements for Telederm and any other specialty services (such as Telestroke) we might want to use in future (i.e., eConsult) or have these now been rolled into the OTN Agreement?

All OTN services will be covered by the new consolidated OTNhub Terms of Service and OTNhub User Agreement, with the exception of pilot programs that may require additional terms not contemplated by these agreements.  If your Member Organization, or a Member of same, were asked to participate in a pilot program you would be informed by OTN at that time of any additional agreements required.

11. Have site certification costs changed? Can outside vendors certify OTN systems? Can members do their own site certifications?

Our OTN prices for site certification have not changed – but are currently under review. Should there be changes in the future, we will provide advance notice of any fee changes.

12. Can outside vendors certify OTN systems?

Not at this time however, we are working in partnership with OTN’s Vendors of Record/Qualified Suppliers on site certifications in exceptional cases.

13. Can members do their own site certifications?

At this point members cannot conduct their own site certifications. Work is being planned for standardization of the steps involved, for sharing with members at a future date.

14. Some Member Organizations have expressed concerns that pop up notifications are not adequate notification for changes. Can OTN do more to notify Member Organizations in advance of changes to the each of the agreements?

OTN has moved to online agreements and for this web-based medium, pop up notices are the best way to reach Member Organizations and Members. For significant changes, OTN will also commit to using email notification to all Member Organizations, as well as online OTNhub notices to Member Organizations and Members. For smaller changes, OTN will simply use online notices. Examples of each are provided here, to provide context:

  • Significant change; e.g. language changes related to Federation and EMR integration between various partner organizations and provincial assets;
  • Smaller change; e.g. a change to an administrative matter that affects the day to day use of OTN Services by a Member or a typing correction or numbering change.

Please note that it is important to keep OTN informed when you change email addresses and that you actively monitor the email account you provide to OTN.

15. Under the liability clauses (Item 1), some hospital organizations are concerned that they are assuming liability for their independent physicians who operate in their hospitals.

Hospitals have always managed their own OTN Membership submissions, including their physicians, nurses, allied health professionals and administrative users. By sponsoring these OTN Members, there is an organizational liability. It is not possible to have Members sponsored by your organization and yet not be liable for them in the Terms of Service.

It is important to note that both the new OTNhub Terms of Service and the new User Agreement have the identical liability clauses, word-for-word, to ensure that the liability is applied with equal effect to the Member Organization and to the individual Member.

This is not new. This liability language and intent has not changed between the previous and the new Terms of Service. As hospitals, you are already operating under this principle. For your reference, OTN has attached a comparison chart of the old and the new liability clauses [insert chart].

There is a new clause that did not exist before (liability section, Item 2). This clause provides new additional protection to Member Organizations, as recommended and validated by the CMPA Association.

16. For those Members who have not yet moved to Integrated or Self Scheduling, will they be expected to complete their own scheduling effective Oct 24th?

OTN has been moving gradually towards Integrated or Self Scheduling for several years now, and the majority of our Members have completed this change. If you have not yet integrated scheduling support into your own practice, you can expect to receive a letter within the next few months to start the discussions. To ensure a successful integration, we would like to develop a transition plan with you, providing you with customized support, online training, tools and best practices. All transitions are expected to be completed by December 2017.

17. Will OTN provide copies of PIAs (Privacy Impact Assessments) and TRAs (Threat and Risk Assessments)?

Yes. OTN openly shares summaries of both PIAs and TRAs with all Members by publishing them on the OTNhub and any time a Member requests a copy.

Note: the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) has participated in a full review and considers these agreements to be acceptable. The continued support of the CMPA reinforces OTN’s commitment to produce high-quality agreements that are fair and transparent to members.