SickKids offers virtual visits to families
April 21, 2021
TORONTO – A new virtual urgent care program at The Hospital for Sick Children will help children and families determine what type of care is needed when they are ill. It will also enable them to access reliable health education resources and, for eligible patients, to participate in live virtual urgent care visits, all from the comfort of home.
The virtual urgent care program is available from any smartphone, tablet or computer with internet through SickKids’ website. A secure 24/7 symptom checker tool will direct children and families to the most appropriate care setting based on the information they enter.
This may include a visit to their local emergency department, the child’s primary care provider (paediatrician/family physician/nurse practitioner) along with relevant online health education resources or, for those who meet the eligibility criteria for the initial launch phase, a virtual urgent care visit with a member of the SickKids Emergency Department clinical team.
“We are pleased to offer this new program to children and families at a time when virtual care is more than just a convenient healthcare option,” said Dr. Jason Fischer (pictured), division head of Paediatric Emergency Medicine at SickKids. “Our virtual urgent care program represents a digital front door to trusted, high-quality paediatric health services, and helps families avoid unnecessary in-person emergency department visits.”
Secure virtual urgent care visits for eligible patients are available by live videoconference seven days a week. During this initial launch phase, virtual urgent care visits with a member of the SickKids Emergency Department clinical team will only be available to children under 18 who have previously received care at SickKids, currently live in the virtual urgent care service region (PDF) and have a valid OHIP card.
In the future, new features will be added to the program and access will be expanded to more children and families.
“Through this initial launch phase and as we expand the program, we hope to better meet the needs of children, youth and families, strengthen connections between SickKids and primary-care providers in the community and create a more seamless healthcare experience,” said Fischer.
This initiative received provincial funding to enhance the pandemic response through appropriate virtual care options, which are key in ensuring continuity of health services while preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The SickKids Emergency Department is open for those who need it, and the hospital continues to be a safe place for patients and families.
For more about the virtual urgent care program, visit www.sickkids.ca/en/emergency/virtual-urgent-care/