The few times Blake Adam has had to go to a walk-in clinic in Victoria, he’s arrived to find it already at capacity or a wait time that’s ridiculously long.
It happened enough times that Adam could tell it was a problem, so he decided to do something to help ease the pain.
A business graduate from the University of Victoria, Adam teamed up with software engineer Jonathon Clark to create the website, medimap.ca. The website allows patients to search for walk-in clinics by city and find the nearest location. Clinics are displayed in order of wait times and updated on the hour.
So far in Victoria, 17 out of 25 clinics have jumped on board. Adam expects more will join as word continues to spread.
“The feedback on both ends has been phenomenal. On the clinic side, it’s reduced the calls they get about wait time, reducing the stress they have to deal with,” said Adam. “Once they (clinics) know about it and they’ve seen how easy the system is to use, it’s kind of a no brainer.”
Dr. Chris Watt, owner of Cook Street Medical Clinic, was connected with Adam last year to provide feedback on the idea. Watt thought it was great, sparking Adam and his partner to launch a six-month pilot program in White Rock.
Six weeks ago, Adam followed up with a demo for Watt, who liked what he saw and recognized a need for such a service since his clinic often has 20 patients lined up outside at the beginning of the day just to put their names on the list.
“It’s (the wait list) certainly not ideal from a patient perspective and we’re not thrilled about it either,” said Watt, noting his clinic of six physicians is continually busy and typically sees 60 to 70 people a day. During the 10 hours it’s open, two doctors work the same shift for four to five hours.
Watts got his clinic using the website in early March. Staff get a reminder prompt on their screen every 30 minutes to update the wait time. He doesn’t believe the website will fragment continuity of care.
“Patients will have one main clinic that they really try to get most of their care from and they’ll go to that one as often as possible,” said Watt, noting his staff continually tell patients about the site.
“There are signs up in all the exam rooms and on the door and window. We want to let as many people know as possible about this because it’s going to save time.”
Medimap was recently presented to the emergency departments of the Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals. More than 40 clinics throughout B.C. are now on board. Adam hopes to expand the free service across Canada.