Virtual Care

If you would like to book an appointment for St. Michael’s Virtual Emergency Department, click here.

As Unity Health Toronto works toward providing the best care experience to our patients, our goal is to offer clinic appointment options that help our patients get the care they need when they need it.

Virtual Care is any interaction between patients and members of their health care team using technology when they are in different locations. A video visit or telemedicine appointment is an example of a virtual care option.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Unity Health clinic appointments were changed to virtual visits to help protect our patients, staff and community from the spread of the virus. Virtual visit options include telephone and video visits. After the pandemic passes, virtual visits will continue.

Virtual Care is not a replacement for usual care. You and your care provider will decide if virtual care is the best option for you. If you and your care provider are thinking about a virtual visit, here is some helpful information for you.

How is a virtual appointment arranged?

Your care provider or a clinic staff will contact you to arrange for a virtual visit.  They will talk to you about options for virtual visit. A virtual visit could be using telephone or video. You and your care provider will decide together which virtual visit option is best for you.

Telephone Appointment

If your virtual visit is using telephone, the clinic staff will confirm your current contact information. They will let you know:

  • The date and time for your telephone visit
  • To expect the call in a window of time (for example, between 9 and 11 a.m.)
  • That you may see the call come from an unknown number – make sure you answer the call

Video Appointment

A video visit may be an option if you have the technical skills and technology for it. The checklists below will help you check.

If you do not have the technology for a video visit, or feel uncomfortable using it, let your care provider or clinic staff know. They will help set up another visit option for you.

If a video visit is an option for you, the clinic team will,

  • Ask for your consent for email communication and video visit
  • Email you the video visit link
  • Give you information on how to prepare

Tip: Arrange a test call with a family member or friend to become familiar with technology.

How do I prepare for my video appointment?

Health care providers from Unity Health use Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) and Zoom Healthcare for  video visits with their patients. When the appointment is booked, you will be given clear instructions about what video visit option will be used. Click on the links below to find some guides to help you get your device ready for the video visit:

Zoom Guides

On the day of your appointment, use the checklist below to make sure you have gathered all the items required for a smooth video visit with your health care provider.

Tip: Regularly check your emails for information about your virtual appointment.

What to expect at my video appointment?

A video visit is just like an in-person visit except the care provider you will be seeing and speaking with will be on the screen of your device.

At the beginning of your video visit:

  • You will be placed in a ‘virtual’ waiting room. You will not see anyone else while you are waiting for your care provider to ‘admit’ you in the appointment.
  • You will be asked to hold your health card up to the camera so that the care provider can check your identity.
  • All in attendance will be introduced including those not seen on camera.
  • Your care provider will obtain a verbal consent from you to proceed with the video visit.

During your video visit,

  • Your care provider may ask about your concerns, your medical history, the medication you take.
  • Your care provider may ask you to move your camera if they need to see something.
  • You will be able to ask questions to your care provider.


What to expect after my virtual appointment?

Like an in-person visit, your health care provider will make arrangements to send you requisitions if any tests are needed. Prescriptions for any medications will be sent in to your pharmacy directly. You will also be contacted by the care provider’s office about your in-person or virtual follow up visit as needed.

Tip: Your care provider may call from an unknown or blocked number, please answer the call.

Frequently Asked Questions About Virtual Care

How do I know if a virtual visit is right for me?

You and your health care team will decide together if a virtual visit is right for you. You and your health care provider will also talk about which virtual care appointment option may be best for you.

What if I don’t have the technology or don’t feel comfortable using it for video visit?

If you do not have or feel uncomfortable with technology used for video visit, let your care provider or clinic staff know. They will help make other arrangements to provide care.

Are there any costs for my virtual appointment?

Unity Health Toronto does not charge for virtual visits. Video visit may use up a lot of internet or cellular data. Please check with your service provider if you have sufficient data to plan for it.

How is Unity Health Toronto ensuring that video visit is safe and private?

Electronic communication, including virtual visits and email, are not free of risks. At Unity Health Toronto, we are committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of your information. We have taken steps to keep your personal information safe:

  • We use secure platforms (OTN and Zoom Healthcare) for video visits.
  • We will ask for your verbal consent for your virtual appointment.
  • We will give you information to help you prepare for a safe and private virtual visit.
  • We make sure that only the people involved in your care will join your virtual appointment.

How can I protect my privacy for a video visit?

The video connection is made using private and secure Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) or Zoom Healthcare and will be private and confidential. You can help keep your information safe by:

  • Use your personal computer or device for the video visit.
  • Join the video visit from a private location . Avoid joining video visits using public wifi (such as a café or library).
  • Use your personal e-mail, not a work e-mail address.
  • Make sure that you log out of your social media sites and close any documents you may be working on.
  • Do not click on any links if you are not sure that the email is sent by your care provider. Call them to confirm.
  • Do not share the video visit link with anyone who is not part of your visit.

How can I make sure I am in a private, quiet space?

  • Close the door to the room you are using for your virtual visit to reduce disruption.
  • If your room has windows, cover them by drawing the curtains or blinds.
  • If the room has TV or radio, turn it down or off.
  • When setting up your webcam, pick a spot where windows or doors will not be in the video.

Can I say no to a virtual appointment?

You can decline or withdraw your consent for virtual appointment at any time by contacting your care provider. Your health care provider will make other arrangements to provide the care you need.

What if my technology does not work during the video visit?

To have a smooth video visit with your health care provider, it is important to check if the technology works before the day of the appointment. If there are any technical issues during the virtual visit, your health care provider will call you on the phone number you provided to complete the appointment.

Can my family join the virtual visit if they are not in the same location as me?

Your health care provider can make arrangements for your family to join the virtual visit once you provide your consent.

What should I do if I need an interpreter for the virtual visit?

Your health care provider can help make arrangements for an interpreter. Please contact your health care provider before your appointment if you need an interpreter.

Last updated May 11, 2021