Virtual Emergency Department
Michael Garron Hospital’s emergency department is offering same-day virtual appointments to improve access to urgent care for our community.
We understand that patients are nervous about coming to the Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we also see first-hand the harmful health impact of avoiding emergency care when you need it. An appointment with our virtual emergency department will help patients with urgent concerns determine if their condition can be managed virtually or if they should come to the Hospital in-person.
Not all concerns can be managed virtually. If you are in severe distress, experiencing a life-threatening emergency or need in person-care, please call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.
How does the virtual emergency department work?
Virtual emergency department appointments are a video interaction between a patient and an MGH emergency physician. Patients will speak with the physician about their health concern. The physician may be able to manage some urgent problems virtually. In other cases, they can explain why the patient should come to the Hospital in-person for additional tests, exams and management.
MGH’s virtual emergency department is by appointment only:
- Virtual emergency department appointments are available seven days a week from 2-8 p.m.
- Appointments are booked for the same day and are 15 minutes long.
- Daily bookings open at 10 a.m. and close at 6:30 p.m.
- Appointments are first-come, first-served. If all appointment slots are filled or you feel you can’t wait, please go to an emergency department or urgent care clinic in-person.
Is a virtual emergency department appointment right for me?
A virtual emergency department appointment may be the right option for a patient who:
- Has an urgent medical problem that they think is non-life-threatening and is unable to reach their family doctor;
- Is well enough to wait up to several hours to discuss their concern with a physician at the booked appointment time; and
- Is 3 months of age or older.
Patients who cannot wait for their booked appointment time should go to the emergency department in-person immediately.
Please note that virtual emergency department appointments are not appropriate for individuals seeking narcotic prescriptions or renewals. Please see your regular provider for this.
If you are in severe distress, experiencing a medical emergency, or need in person-care, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department
What do I need for a virtual emergency department appointment?
- A device for video calls such as a smartphone, tablet or personal computer with a camera, speaker and microphone.
- Access to a reliable internet connection.
- A valid email address.
- Your OHIP or IFHP number if you have one. Patients who do not have an OHIP or IFHP are still eligible to book an appointment.
- A private space where you would be comfortable having a conversation with the doctor.
- Wear clothing that will help you easily show the doctor your area of concern (for example shorts if you have a knee concern).
- A friend or family member to help translate if needed.
How do I book a virtual emergency department appointment?
To book a virtual emergency department appointment, patients will need to:
- Complete the pre-registration form to confirm their eligibility.
- Eligible patients will be directed to a custom registration page for MGH's virtual emergency department on the virtual care platform Maple.
- Follow the steps on Maple to schedule an appointment with an MGH emergency physician.
- Appointment confirmation details will be sent to you by email.
Please note that patients must be currently located in Ontario to book their appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How is patient privacy protected during a virtual emergency department appointment?
MGH’s virtual emergency department uses a virtual care platform called Maple. Maple’s privacy policies comply with applicable legal and regulatory requirements including both The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and Ontario’s stringent Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). ’
- To help us keep your information safe and secure, you can do the following:
- Understand that emails, calls or texts you receive are not secure in the same way as a private appointment in an exam room. Use a private computer/device (i.e. not an employer’s or third party’s computer/device), secure accounts and a secure Internet connection. For example, using a personal and encrypted email account is more secure than using an unencrypted email account, and your access to the Internet on your home network will generally be more secure than an open guest Wi-Fi connection.
- Are virtual emergency department appointments safe?
Virtual emergency department appointments are most appropriate for patients who are unsure if they should visit an emergency department in-person. It is not a substitute for in-person communication, clinical examinations or emergency department visits.
Please be aware that we are not reviewing appointment information or monitoring the patient's condition until the time of your appointment. If your condition changes or worsens, please call 911 or visit your nearest emergency department immediately instead.
Some urgent problems can be managed virtually. In other cases, the physician will explain why you should come to the hospital in-person for additional tests, exams and management.
- Can I book a virtual emergency department appointment for my child or dependent?
Yes. The virtual emergency department is for anyone 3 months of age or older.
- Is it safe to go to the emergency department in-person?
Yes. MGH’s emergency department is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is always here for you. We have taken great care to keep you as safe as possible during in person visits. We have large waiting rooms to allow physical distancing and provide masks for all patients and visitors.
- What do I do if there are no appointments available with MGH’s virtual emergency department?
If all appointments for MGH’s virtual emergency department are booked, please visit MGH’s emergency department in-person or book a virtual appointment with another hospital.
Other virtual emergency departments in the Greater Toronto Area include: