No one wants to wait in a crowded walk-in clinic any longer than they have to.
Whether it’s a mom with a screaming child, a sick senior or one of the many individuals who don’t have a family doctor, everyone’s time is important.
Now there’s an online tool to help patients determine the best clinic to visit, before they make the trip, without tying up clinic phone lines and staff by calling.
Medimap.ca has been created to save time by showing wait times at local walk-in clinics, and it’s now available for Vernon.
“The whole idea is to automate that process,” said Blake Adam, who created the process with partner Jonathan Clark (both of Vancouver). “We just saw it as a simple solution to a problem pretty much everybody can relate to.”
Medimap has been up and running since September and now includes 85 clinics. The clinics update the site by choosing the wait times and so far the response has been great.
“The clinics have been really excited about being part of it because they get so many less calls,” said Adam, as some have reported 30 per cent fewer calls about wait times.
Over at the North Okanagan Medical clinic (in the Real Canadian Superstore), manager Lorraine Rogers gets thousands of calls a month from patients, who are curious about one thing
“Patients want to know how long the wait is,” said Rogers. “I’m really hoping this site will cut down on those phone calls.”
Rogers is actually responsible for getting Vernon added to Medimap, after hearing about it from one of the doctors at the clinic.
With Gartree Medical Clinic and Sterling Centre Clinic on board, the site has been covering Vernon for two weeks now.
It not only shows the approximate wait time and clinic hours, but lets you know if the clinic is full (at capacity) and not accepting anymore patients. Therefore saving the mom with a crying child a pointless trip to the walk in.
“It’s fabulous! It’s a really helpful website that’s going to manage Vernon better,” said Rogers, who wants to see everyone in town using the site.
With a Google map showing the clinic locations, the site will also be helpful in the summer, when the region’s population swells with tourists.
So far, people are using the site, according to Rogers.
“I know they’re looking at it because they’re not trusting it, they’re still calling to check if the times are correct. But eventually Vernon will trust it.”
Although Medimap is helping to better manage healthcare, local clinics are still swamped with patients lined out the door most days.
Along with providing urgent care, the clinics have become a primary source for many.
“It’s almost impossible to find a family doctor in Vernon right now,” said Rogers.
A new link will eventually be added which will include which physician is working. An app is also in the works.