Province replaces Telehealth with Health Connect Ontario, which includes online chat function

The Ontario government has announced it is launching a new service called “Health Connect Ontario” to replace Telehealth, which now includes an online chat function with a registered nurse.

Officials said the new tool —  an “all in one easy-to-use website” — will allow Ontarians to call or chat online with a registered nurse to get health advice, to find health care services, and information.

To use the service, residents can go to the Health Connect Ontario website and click the blue chat box icon in the bottom right hand corner and begin chatting with a nurse after providing some initial information in a form and waiting in a queue.

Ontarians can still call 811 (formerly Telehealth) or access the service through the website 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Previously with Telehealth, Ontarians could only call to speak to a nurse over the phone and some reported waiting hours to get through the phone lines.

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“This will help Ontarians avoid unnecessary visits to emergency departments and unneeded delays in accessing care, helping to preserve hospital capacity for when it is needed most so that the province can stay open,” the government said.

Health Connect Ontario provides the following services:

  • 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.

“We’re connecting Ontarians with nurses and the high-quality health services they need from anywhere at any time,” said Christine Elliott, deputy premier and Minister of Health. “This new modern service offers more choice and convenience for Ontarians seeking care and information.”

The government is reminding residents that the Health Connect Ontario website and calling the 811 number is for non-urgent health care information, advice and referrals and will not replace 911, which should be used for medical emergencies.

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