Red Deerians now have access to a new tool to help limit their time spent waiting at walk-in clinics.
Medimap is an online tool created to help people across the country have access to estimated wait times at clinics in their communities.
Co-founder and CEO Blake Adam said the idea came after he and his partner went through some negative experiences back in 2015 at walk-in clinics in their home community of White Rock, B.C.
“Part of it was sitting in wait rooms when we didn’t have a family doctor,” he said. “We were limited to going to walk-in clinics to see a doctor. The experience of sitting in a waiting room for hours with other sick people was a pretty terrible one and we were also being turned away from clinics that may have closed early for the day.”
It was at this time that they decided to create Medimap in order to help others who may have been stuck in the same situation.
The program now runs in 63 communities across five provinces and has over 575 clinics reporting their wait times.
“It made sense to us that there should be a centralized online resource where patients can look up availability of clinics in their community,” he said. “It is updated by staff. They have an account with us and throughout the day they get a reminder every half hour. They submit their wait time based on their best estimate.”
Adam said the idea not only has helped patients, but has reduced the number of calls staff has received regarding their wait times.
“It automates the whole process,” he added.
After finding success in White Rock, they quickly expanded after realizing the need country-wide.
“We have found the same problems exist across the country. The feedback has been positive on both ends in terms of saving time and frustration for patients and also for the staff and improving the patient experience,” he said.
In Red Deer, Medimap currently has five out of 11 clinics reporting their wait times and Adam hopes the other six jump on board as well.
“It is free for them to join and start sharing their wait times online. The challenge has been getting in touch with the right people and showing them how it works,” he said.
Adam hopes the tool will be able to help patients across Canada.
“Patients in any community regardless how big or small can rely on it if they need same-day access to care,” he said
He added that it is important to remember that wait times are estimates by staff and should not be taken with exact certainty.
“It is the staff’s best approximation based on the information they have,” he said.
To find out current wait times in Red Deer, you can log on to medimap.ca.