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Ambulatory Clinics

General Referral Guidelines

In order to ensure a consistent standard of care for new patients referred to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), general principles are outlined for patients having medical or surgical consultation.

Please note: These apply to "new" ambulatory patients requesting service and not requiring an emergent inpatient admission.

A new referral is not required for patients who are currently being followed regularly by the Ambulatory service.

  1. All new ambulatory patients require a formal request for consultation, done through the Ambulatory Referral System on-line.  If you do not have Internet connection, please contact the ARMs Account Administrator.
    *** URGENT referrals (patients who must be seen within 24 hours) should contact clinics directly (see the directory of clinics for contact numbers) ***
  2. To request your eCHN e-Referral account, please access eCHN’s automated e-Referral request pate at http://www.echn.ca/e-referral.php. For any e-Referral access questions or concerns please contact eCHN directly at 416-813-7998 or at helpdesk@echn.ca.
  3. Only regulated healthcare professionals, or their designate as defined or limited by the programs providing the service, may refer patients to SickKids.
  4. All new ambulatory patients must meet the established age limit of under the age of their eighteenth (18) birth date, except those where the nature of the service provided is pertaining to parents/potential parents. Clinics/Services may elect to further limit the age of patients seen for certain diagnoses/tests/procedures due to reasons of physiological maturation; expertise provided in another setting; or in the best interest of the patient population involved.
  5. Established guidelines/criteria for each “problem” identified for each specialty clinic/service, are embedded in the web-based ambulatory referral system and is available to all referring professionals.
  6. Referring professionals are informed of pre-visit tests and supporting documents/medical information required, prior to completing the referral.
  7. All referrals will be triaged and prioritized by an appropriate SickKids professional, using a standard priority ranking scale established by each clinic/service for that particular problem/diagnosis/test/ procedure.
  8. Referring professionals will receive notification by automated fax informing him/her of the status of the referral at the time of receipt, when the referral is being reviewed and triaged, and when or if an appointment is booked.
  9. All accepted referrals will be scheduled for a visit within an appropriate prioritized patient specific time frame.
  10. Referrals that do not meet established guidelines/criteria will be redirected to another partnering professional or you will be notified with a suggested alternate plan.

For specific referral guidelines by clinic see the directory of clinics.

Helpful hints for referring professionals

If the referring professional does not have access to an internet connection, they must submit the “NEW Fax Referral form”.  The NEW form indicates they have contacted the ARMs Administrator and received approval to use the form.

Please write legibly and include the referring professional’s information (such as name address etc.) and make copies in order to save time in rewriting this information for each referral.

Note: faxes are more difficult to read on the system, so whenever possible please type in all referral information including the referring professional and patient demographic. For proper format, the browser ‘base’ font size should be set to 12 point.

When referral are requested within a short time frame, provide the family with the "Coming for Clinic Appointments" information in order to prepare them for the visit.