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Health Connect Ontario expands, replaces Telehealth

The Ontario government and Ontario Health have launched Health Connect Ontario, an online service for people to call or chat online with a registered nurse.

Health Connect Ontario replaces the former Telehealth Ontario where people can call 811, or visit the website 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get health advice, help navigate health services and find information.

The move is to help avoid unnecessary visits to emergency departments and delays in accessing care, helping to preserve hospital capacity for when it is needed most so that the province can stay open.

“This new modern service offers more choice and convenience for Ontarians seeking care and information, whether they have a primary care provider or not. It will help keep more people out of hospital and preserve beds for those who need them most,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, in a media release.

Health Connect Ontario brings patients to a single source where they can:
– Speak to or chat online with a registered nurse
– Get help with finding a primary care provider if they don’t have one
– Get an initial assessment and health advice
– Use a symptom assessment tool to understand their health concerns and how to access care
– Get connected to mental health and addictions services
– Find local health services, such as home and community care or caregiver support
– Get connected to a specialized health professional if they have concerns about food and healthy eating, breastfeeding or how to quit smoking
– Get general guidance through their health care journey

By calling 811, Ontarians will be able to speak to a qualified health professional, such as a registered nurse, day or night, in English and French, with translation support also offered in other languages. Any calls made to Telehealth Ontario will be automatically re-directed to the new service.

The province expects to expand features and offerings over time to better coordinate care and services.

Health Connect Ontario and 811 are for non-urgent health care information, advice and referrals. The service will not replace 911, which should still be used for a medical emergency.

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