UHN launches Emergency Department virtual visits

The team behind UHN’s Emergency Department virtual visits includes, (L to R) Kathy Bates, Nurse Manager, ED, Toronto Western Hospital, Timothy Sukhu, Project Manager, UHN Connected Care, and Dr. Sameer Masood, ED physician and Virtual ED Lead at UHN. (Photo: UHN)

UHN Emergency Departments (ED) began virtual visits on Monday, Dec. 14.

Part of a broader Ontario Health initiative for ED Virtual Care, UHN is teaming up with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital – Unity Health Toronto in a six-month pilot project.

At UHN, patients will use an online booking system to make appointments between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. each day. The service, open Monday to Friday, is intended for urgent but non-life threatening concerns when a patient’s family doctor is unavailable, or they don’t have one. Read more about ED virtual visits.

“The ED pilot will bring care closer to patients’ homes and provide them with another pathway to access timely medical care,” says Dr. Sameer Masood, ED physician and Virtual ED Lead at UHN.

The online booking system allows patients to see availabilities for the day and provide baseline information to UHN administrators for scheduling. UHN Patient Education approved all content.

Patients must have a valid Ontario Health Card and be in the province at the time of the appointment.

Appointments take place on Microsoft Teams, which means patients will need a computer or smartphone with video, internet access and a quiet place to have the call with an ED physician.

This project is the result of a successful collaboration between the ED and Connected Care team at UHN.

“The ED pilot furthers the mission of UHN’s Emergency Departments to provide patients with accessible, timely and efficient care by leveraging our expertise in virtual care,” says Dr. Sam Sabbah, UHN’s ED Chief.

“This pilot project is another critical component of determining how UHN’s strategies in virtual care and integrated care are being designed to drive a better experience for patients.”

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