Sunnybrook trying out a virtual emergency room

Sunnybrook virtual ER

Here's one positive to come out of the pandemic.

Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital has gone virtual, for non-emergency visits.

It's part of a six-month pilot project working with the University Health Network and Unity Health.

In a release, the hospital says emergency room visits decreased during the first wave of the pandemic, in the spring, "likely due to patient fears of COVID-19."

They are now offering same-day virtual appointments with ER doctors, in the hopes of reaching people in their homes, so they don't have to head to the hospital.

"It also aims to service under-served populations, reduce wait times and improve the patient and family experience."

The hospital still encourages anyone with a life-threatening concern to go to the ER. But, they ask that you first try and book an appointment with your family doctor, if you have one. The virtual emergency room will be open from 2pm until 9pm, from Monday to Friday.

Also, appointments take place on Zoom. Patients will need a computer or smartphone with video, a quiet space and internet access.