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SJHH / Dovetale/ MyDovetale/ Virtual Care

Virtual Care

What’s New?

As of May 17th, 2023, St. Joe’s completed a number of updates to MyDovetale and Video Visits to continue improving and growing the functionality available. To learn more, click on the link below.

click here to view a summary of updates

About Virtual Care

Virtual Care is a broad term that encompasses the ways in which healthcare providers remotely interact with their patients. Virtual care is a method of care that allows patients to synchronously and/or asynchronously interact and communicate with their healthcare providers, this may include: telephone, video, or secure messaging.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (St. Joe’s) is offering virtual care to make sure that we can continue to care for our patients safely and effectively. This means that we will be using video and audio technologies for some patient visits, rather than asking you to present to your clinic in person. Please keep in mind that not all visits are suited for virtual care, and your Care Team will determine whether this mode of care is appropriate for you and your care journey.

Types of Virtual Care


Telephone Visits

A visit that is conducted between a patient and their provider, or with a family member and/or caregiver, over the telephone. The appointment is typically scheduled in advance and the provider will call the patient at the time of the visit or within a timeframe communicated to the patient by the clinic.

virtual visit Video Visits A visit that is conducted using a video platform (ex. Zoom). These visits can be conducted one-on-one between a patient and their provider, they can include family members and/or caregivers, and they can be used for group sessions (i.e. multiple patients and multiple providers). The appointment is typically scheduled in advance and the patient will join the visit using the video link provided.
Secure Messaging Non-urgent messages that are exchanged between a patient and their Care Team through the St. Joe’s patient portal, MyDovetale. Messages can be initiated by the patient or by the clinician. For messages sent through MyDovetale, the Care Team will make every effort to send a response within 3 business days.


Virtual Care at St. Joe’s

A member of your Care Team may offer you a virtual visit if it is appropriate for the appointment to be conducted over the telephone or video. The type of appointment scheduled may depend on, but is not limited to:

  • If the patient does not require a physical assessment (i.e. listen to their heart or look inside their ears)
  • If the patient needs to have a procedure completed in hospital
  • If the patient has good internet connection or telephone service
  • If the patient has access to a computer, tablet, or smart phone

At St. Joe’s, video visits are offered through 3 different platforms. In the appointment confirmation email received (if you have an email address on file), after your appointment is scheduled, the appointment type will indicate the name of the platform you are to launch your appointment through. Please refer to the table below for more information.

Video Visit Type Scenario How to Launch the Video Link
MyDovetale Video Visit You have a MyDovetale account and your Care Team has scheduled you for a video visit (Example of appointment name: VIDEO: …). Log into your MyDovetale account, navigate to the appropriate appointment, and select ‘Begin Video Visit’.
Ad-hoc Video Visits Your Care Team has scheduled you for an Ad-hoc video visit (Example of appointment name: VIDEO: AD-HOC VIDEO …). At the time of the appointment, the clinician will send the video link in real-time. Open your personal email account, navigate to the email received from your Care Team with the video link, and select ‘Click here to launch your secure St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton video visit’.
NOTE: Alternatively, you can receive the video link via text message.
OTN Video Visits Your Care Team uses the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) to conduct their video visits (Example of appointment name: OTN …). Open the appointment email invitation, select ‘Start Visit’, and follow the prompts to enter your name and PIN (provided by your Care Team).
For more information, contact your clinic directly.


Need Help?

If you require support, are experiencing issues, or have questions regarding Virtual Care, please contact your clinic directly or the MyDovetale & Virtual Care Support Team at


Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Benefits of Virtual Care

How do I benefit from participating in Virtual Care?

St. Joe’s offers virtual care as it offers the following benefits:  

  • Enables patients to access care where and when they need it, such as from home or work
  • Minimizes time spent travelling to and from visits
  • Provides better support for patients living with chronic disease
  • Reduces time taken away from work, caregiving, or other tasks
  • Saves money on travel and parking costs
  • Enables family members and/or caregivers to join the visits
  • Enhances the patient experience through ease of access to St. Joe’s providers through the patient portal, MyDovetale
  • Minimizes unnecessary visits to the Emergency Department through proactive just-in-time interventions

Accessing Virtual Care

Am I eligible for a virtual visit?

Contact your clinic directly to talk to a member of your Care Team to determine if you are eligible for a virtual visit.

What types of devices can I use for my video visit?

A computer/laptop, smartphone, or tablet with the latest version of Zoom downloaded is recommended for your video visit. If you are using MyDovetale to access the video link, it is also recommended that you have the latest version of the MyChart mobile app downloaded.

When using a smartphone or tablet, we recommend you use the MyChart and Zoom mobile apps, rather than an internet browser.

What to expect during a virtual visit?

There are similar aspects of a virtual visit that compare to an in-person visit, but there are some differences.

Things that are the same:

  • You can ask questions about health and needs
  • Family members and/or caregivers can join the visit with you, if confirmed with your provider first
  • Your provider can order bloodwork, diagnostic imaging, prescriptions, and any other procedures or medications, as needed
  • You will receive your test results and have an opportunity to discuss them with your provider
  • Your provider will take notes during and after your appointment to document in your medical record

Things that may be different:

For telephone visits:

  • You will not see your provider
  • You may be given a range of times when the clinician will call you (Example: Although your appointment is scheduled at 1:00 PM, you may be told that the clinician will call you between 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM)

For video visits:

  • You will be placed into a virtual waiting room when you join the appointment and your provider will admit you to the video call once they are ready to begin
How will my virtual visit be booked?

A member of your Care Team (administrative staff or clinician) will work with you to schedule your virtual care appointment accordingly.

What if my provider is late for my video visit?

Similar to an in-person visit, there may be instances where your provider is tied up or running behind schedule. Please remain patient and in the virtual waiting room until your provider connects. If it appears that your provider is exceptionally late to the video visit, please contact your clinic directly.

Can I decline to participate in virtual care if I change my mind? 

You can decline or withdraw your consent for virtual care at any time by contacting your clinic directly.

If you have a MyDovetale account, you can also update your Communication Preferences directly from your account to be contacted by email and/or text message for various notification types.

Legal, Privacy, and Security

Is my private health information secure while participating in virtual care?

At the start of a virtual visit your provider may ask you questions to confirm your identity. Your Care Team may ask if you give permission for the visit to start the visit.

The video conferencing platform, Zoom, that St. Joe’s uses is used by many hospitals across Ontario. The service offered through Zoom has been reviewed by the St. Joe’s Privacy and Cyber Security teams. Phone calls and video calls are not recorded by Zoom or OTN.

St. Joe’s is not responsible for the security provided by patients’ email domains, internet service providers, and personal devices.

What can I do to ensure my privacy and security when participating in virtual care?

Use your own personal email address for virtual care. A work email address belongs to your employer and should not be used for virtual care purposes. Additionally, a shared email account with a family member runs the risk of personal health information with anyone who has access to that account.

Use a secure internet connection. Do not use a public internet connection (Example: Internet connection at an airport, internet café, public library, or other open area). Other people may be able to use the link to listen in on your appointment without your knowledge.

Ensure you are in a private area when participating in your virtual visit. If there are people nearby, they can listen in on your appointment without your knowledge.

Technical Questions

I can’t hear anything or see myself on the video visit, what should I do?

Ensure your device volume is turned up.

Ensure you have allowed Zoom to access your Microphone and Video.

Ensure your microphone and video are enabled on your mobile device.

  • For Computer/Laptop: Check your Camera, Microphone, and Speaker settings.
  • For iPhone: Go to 'Settings' > 'Zoom' > switch the microphone and camera toggles to 'On'.
  • For Android: Go to 'Settings' > 'Apps & notifications' > 'App permissions' > 'Microphone' and switch on the toggle for Zoom.
I clicked the video link, but nothing is happening. What should I do?

From your mobile device, ensure your pop-up blocker is turned off.

For iPhone: Go to 'Settings' > 'Safari' > turn off toggle for 'Block Pop-ups'.

For Android: Go to 'Chrome' > tap the 3 dots in the top right corner > tap 'Settings' > 'Site Settings' > 'Pop-Ups' > Switch toggle off to say "Allowed'.

I see a ‘Waiting for Host’ message on the screen, what should I do?

When you join your video visit, you will be placed into a virtual waiting room. Once your provider has joined and is ready to begin, they will admit you to the video call.

I see an error message when launching Zoom, what should I do?

Ensure your device is compatible with the Zoom software. Refer to the System Requirements for Zoom.

I can’t resolve my technical problems during my video visit. What should I do?

In advance of your visit, we ask that you test your connection and set-up, however, we recognize that there may be times where technical issues still occur. If you are having technical issues, there are a few basic steps you can take to see if you can fix the issue.            

If you continue to have problems, or if you get disconnected during your video visit, contact your clinic directly. If issues persist, your provider may reschedule for another time.


For further technical support, please contact the MyDovetale & Virtual Care Support Team at