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What to expect if you have been scheduled for a telephone or video visit with your care team at UHN.


What is a virtual visit?

During a virtual visit you do not come to the hospital to meet in person. You speak with your care team using a regular telephone, smartphone or your computer.

Why is UHN offering virtual visits?

We are using virtual visits more often at UHN to reduce how many people come to the hospital. This is to protect our patients, staff and the community from the spread of COVID-19. Virtual visits are not new. UHN and health care teams across Ontario have been using virtual visits for some time through the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN).

What happens during a virtual visit?

Your health care team talks to you about your current health status, any symptoms you are experiencing and your needs. If your care team feels that an in-person visit is needed instead of a virtual visit, they will discuss your options and next steps with you.

How will my virtual visit be booked?

Your care team may call you to discuss changing your upcoming appointment to a virtual visit.

  • They will talk to you about options for virtual care. This may include offering a regular telephone call or a video call using a system called OTN.
  • They will give you instructions on how to prepare.
  • They will also ask for your verbal consent for the upcoming appointment.
  • They will let you know the day and time of your virtual visit and confirm they have your preferred contact information.

The decision on which type of virtual visit you have will be made based on your care needs and the technology you and the clinic have access to.

How can I tell what appointments are virtual visit?

If you use myUHN Patient Portal:

  • A telephone or video visit are scheduled as a TELE-OTNINVITE appointment in myUHN Patient Portal.
  • Your clinic will contact you to explain how the virtual visit will work.

myUHN Patient Portal

myUHN Patient Portal lets you see changes to your appointments and access your results and reports online. If you don’t use myUHN Patient Portal and would like to, contact the myUHN Support team by:
Phone: 416 340 3777 or

What can I expect during my virtual visit?

Telephone visit

  • Your care team will call you on the phone at the scheduled time.
  • You and your care team talk about how you’re feeling, your questions and next steps in your care plan.
  • Video (audiovisual) visit using OTN

    UHN uses a secure video conferencing tool provided by Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) for video calls. OTN is funded and fully supported by the Government of Ontario to enable people to receive care at home.

    What to expect using OTN

    • Your care team calls you on your smartphone or computer using the OTN video system at the scheduled time.
    • You and your care team talk about how you’re feeling, your questions and next steps in your care plan.
    • If you have trouble with the video system, your care team will call your telephone number instead.

    Is OTN safe and private?

    • OTN is secure and private (encrypted).
    • Personal health information discussed during the virtual visit is not stored or kept in any way by OTN.
    • If you agree to participate in a virtual visit, UHN will need to provide your name and email address to OTN. Your care team will schedule your virtual visit with OTN.
    • You get an email from
      • Do not reply to the email or send the video conference link or appointment email to anyone.
    • This email contains your care provider’s name and the date and time of your virtual visit.
    • It will also have a link to access your appointment and instructions on using OTN.

    Please call your care provider’s office if you have any questions regarding your OTN appointment or if you do not receive this email from OTN.

    Email consent and safety
    • UHN may also send you appointment information and other general information by email or text, if you have consented to receive information in this way.
    • Please do not send emails for urgent symptoms, questions or in an emergency. If you have an urgent medical issue, please call 911 or visit an Emergency Department or Urgent Care Centre.
    • Some care areas may send you a follow-up survey after your appointment by email or text. This is to help us to improve the quality of care we deliver. They should let you know about this during your appointment, so check with them that they have your preferred contact details.
      • If you receive a link to a survey and are not sure if it is coming from your care team, please call them to check before clicking on any links.

    Electronic communication, including virtual visits and email, may have some risk. Third parties may take over electronic communication and introduce malware, phishing scams, or other unauthorized access.

    UHN is not responsible for the security of patients’ internet service providers, email domains, personal devices or personal computers.

    We suggest that you use your personal email when communicating about your health and not a work email address, as your employer may have the right to inspect your work email.

    Use a secure internet connection. Do not use a public internet connection such as at the airport internet café, public library or other open area. Other people may be able to use the link to listen in on your appointment without you knowing.

    For more information on how to protect yourself against security risks associated with electronic communication, read this article on Don’t let a phishing attack reel you in.

    Protecting your privacy

    Your privacy is very important to us at UHN. We protect your privacy during virtual visits in the same way as we do during a clinic visit.

    This means:

    • Only the people providing care to you will be present during your appointment.
    • Our discussion during the visit in your health record, just like an inperson appointment would be.

    We suggest that you take similar steps to protect your own privacy. This means being aware of your surroundings and who may be able to overhear your virtual visit.

    Can I decline a virtual visit or change my mind?

    You can decline or withdraw your consent for virtual visits or communication using email or text, at any time by contacting your care provider. Please know that this may lead to delays in your care during this challenging time, as only urgent in-person appointments are being offered in our clinics right now.

    Where can I learn more about virtual visits?

    Ontario Telemedicine Network

    UHN Privacy Office
    Phone: 416 340 4800 ext. 6937

    myUHN Patient Portal Support Team
    Phone: 416 340 3777