Respecting patients’ time

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Respecting patients’ time

MySMH tool keeps patients notified of wait times

Toronto, May 23, 2019

By Amber Daugherty

A look at MySMH in action, which keeps patients updated on their appointment times
A look at MySMH in action, which keeps patients updated on their appointment times. (Photo by Yuri Markarov)

A patient makes it to their appointment a little early. They consider a quick bathroom break or grabbing a coffee but worry about stepping away. What if their name is called while they’re briefly gone?

This is not an unfamiliar scenario for many people accessing health care. Appointments run over, people are called away for emergencies and often, there’s little sense of how long a wait will be. A team at St. Michael’s Hospital is working to change that with a tool called MySMH.

Patients at St. Michael’s diabetes clinic can now get text notifications after they check in for their appointment letting them know what their estimated wait time is and if they have time to leave and come back.

“MySMH is helping improve patients’ experience because it’s putting the time back in their hands,” said Lexie Brand, Project Manager, “and also increasing transparency. Health care is not always on time so this lets them know what the situation is and decide what they’d like to do. It gives them control.”

The text messages are tied to a system used by the clinic’s staff that shows every patient scheduled to be seen that day and whether they’ve registered, are with a physician, need to schedule their next appointment or have left.

As an added bonus, MySMH helps make life more efficient for the clinical team.

“It allows us to track everyone,” said Miriam Sarpong, a clerical assistant and booking clerk in the diabetes clinic. “Before, we would have to go and knock on doors if we had a question. This way, I can see if a physician is with someone and make sure I’m not disturbing them.”

Joan Honeyford is a patient who recently consented to receiving text messages with MySMH. In her first visit receiving texts, she said she’s already seeing the benefit.

“I’ve been at other facilities where the surgeon was called for an emergency and I had to wait for two hours,” said Honeyford. “If you could know you’d be waiting, it would make life a little easier.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About Unity Health Toronto

Unity Health Toronto, comprised of Providence Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital, works to advance the health of everyone in our urban communities and beyond. Our health network serves patients, residents and clients across the full spectrum of care, spanning primary care, secondary community care, tertiary and quaternary care services to post-acute through rehabilitation, palliative care and long-term care, while investing in world-class research and education. For more information, visit

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