We shouldn't feel frustrated and discouraged when searching for Ontario health care. However, many of us do. We end up having more questions than answers. Is the website credible? Which doctors are accepting new patients? What are the wait times for surgeries?
Start with the Health Care Options website. As a division of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care website, the website offers us many Ontario health care resources. You can find the right health services and nearby facilities, connect to a new doctor, get surgery wait times, and learn about the Ontario Health Insurance Plan all through one website.
Health Care Options Directory
The Health Care Options Directory puts you in touch with the health care service and facility you need. Using the interactive directory tool box, you select the services and facilities you or your loved ones are looking for in Ontario. You can further narrow your search by selecting a language preference and distance.
If you are unsure of what type of service or facility you need, the Health Care Options Directory includes a reference list on care centres below the directory tool box.
Health Care Connect
For those of us without a doctor, Health Care Connect connects us with family health care providers accepting new patients. Health Care Connect is a referral program with steps from ensuring eligibility to registering in the program and from finding a doctor to booking an appointment.
Health Care Options Searchable Tools
Ontario Wait Times has two searchable tools to make scheduling procedures and waiting in the emergency room bearable.
The Ontario Wait Times for surgeries, MRIs and CTs provides wait times for adult and paediatric procedures. Through a series of easy click-and-answer prompts, you can get access to wait times for multiple procedures scheduled throughout the province. This tool is a convenient search option when comparing procedure wait times at different hospitals and facilities.
The Ontario Wait Times for emergency rooms provides wait times for ER visits. Emergency room wait times represent the total time for the visit, from initial registration to final release or hospital transfer.
To note, Ontario Wait Times does not provide real-time information. All waits times are based on the wait times for 9 out of 10 patients. You can learn more about Ontario Wait Times on the frequently asked question pages for surgeries and diagnostic imaging and ER visits.
Learning Health Care Options
Learning about health care options before needing them alleviates some of the stress associated with finding the right Ontario health care for you or your loved ones. The Health Care Options website offers a user-friendly reference guide. On the Learn about your options webpage, you and your loved ones can access information on types of care centres and watch videos.
More Valuable Resources
The Health Care Options website connects you to more valuable health resources. Scroll down to the bottom of the homepage to find links to:
- the 24/7 TeleHealth Ontario line to speak with a registered nurse.
- Health Care Options Fact Sheets to understand health care in Ontario and read about health services in other languages.
- Ontario's Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) to get updates and eligibility requirements.
- ColonCancerCheck to learn about the screening program.
The Health Care Options website takes the guesswork out of searching for Ontario health care. The website also alleviates the uneasiness some of us experience when browsing the internet for health services and resources; we never know what to expect. So, start with this list of resources. Or, explore Health Care Options on your own.