Guidelines for remote supervision


Last revised: 02 Aug 2023

Guidelines for remote supervision


Remote supervision should be comparable to, if not better than, traditional face-to-face supervision. To achieve this, certain minimum standards must be met.

These evidence-informed guidelines have been developed with the objective of ensuring the safety of the registrar’s patients, the registrar themselves, the supervisor and the training site while providing a foundation for a high-quality learning experience. We encourage readers to consider other issues and processes that extend beyond these guidelines and determine what is contextually relevant for their local environment.

Fundamental to remote supervision is the identification and selection of the right location, suitable registrar, onsite supervisory team and an appropriate and effective supervisor. It is hoped that registrars who are remotely supervised will develop strong skills in assessment, differential diagnosis and management and, with supervisor support, be able to implement safe and appropriate medical care.

What is remote supervision?

Remote supervision is when supervision and teaching are provided by a supervisor who is primarily offsite, using a model of supervision that provides comprehensive and robust support and training. The supervisor is ‘remote’ from the registrar.

How to use the guidelines

It is expected that most remote supervision training sites will be in rural and remote areas, although the guidelines could be applicable in any location that does not have access to an accredited onsite supervisor. Remote supervision should be considered when onsite supervision cannot be provided by an accredited supervisor.

The guidelines provide for several key differences between face-to-face supervision and remote supervision. Each of these components needs to be contextualised to the training site, supervisor and registrar. Each location, situation and placement is different, and needs to be treated as such.

Key differences between remote supervision and traditional on-site supervision:
  • Selection of supervisor and registrar using a contextualised remote supervision placement process (CRSPP)
  • Risk management planning to assess and manage current and potential risks in the placement
  • A face-to-face-orientation period when the supervisor and registrar work together
  • Development of an onsite supervision team
  • Communication strategies for clinical, professional and personal support and assessment using IT
  • Acknowledgement of the increased time required for remote supervision with additional payment for offsite and onsite teaching, support and assessments.

Application of the guidelines will vary and depends on the training program (ie Australian General Practice Training [AGPT] program, Fellowship Support Program [FSP], Remote Vocational Training Scheme [RVTS]) and the registrar context (eg Australian Defense Force [ADF] registrars). Relevant components of the guidelines must be applied to ensure high-quality training is delivered and training outcomes are achieved.

Figure. Overview of remote supervision processes.
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