Incoming patients with non-urgent issues may think twice about using the ED if they see that a nearby walk-in clinic has only a 10-minute wait.
Using the ER Wisely’ has never been so easy for White Rock residents now that wait times for local walk-in clinics are posted in Peace Arch Hospital Emergency.
Incoming patients pass the 42 inch-screen enroute to the triage desk. We know those with non-urgent concerns likely face long waits and should reconsider using the ER. But no one is going to tell them that. However, after sitting there for a while, hopefully some may ask themselves: ‘Why don’t I take this hangnail to a walk-in clinic with only a 10-minute wait?’
Two local entrepreneurs developed medimap.ca to provide updated clinic wait times and capacity levels throughout the day, making walk-ins an easy option when a family doctor is unavailable. Says co-founder Blake Adam: “We saw this as a very simple way of improving the patient experience, reducing the number of calls walk-in clinics receive about wait times, hopefully reducing the number of non-urgent patients that resort to the ER unnecessarily, and ultimately working towards a more efficient primary care system.”
The medimap display in the Peace Arch ED is another step in the White Rock South Surrey Division of Family Practice’s campaign to improve the public’s understanding of health care options that can reduce reliance on the hospital for non-emergency health care. The ‘Use the ER Wisely’ campaign uses posters and information brochures in family doctors’ offices, the hospital and throughout the community to educate the public about care alternatives in the community.
- family doctors as the first source of help (same-day appointments may be possible for urgent concerns);
- walk-in clinics (medimap for wait times and closures if capacity is reached);
- HealthLink 8-1-1 for health advice by phone;
- community pharmacists for urgent medication refills;
- the ER for critical and life-threatening conditions
Since it was launched in early 2015, the campaign, in partnership with Fraser Health at Peace Arch Hospital, has resulted in 1,100 fewer non-emergency visits in 2016. The Divisions of Family Practice across Fraser Health have expressed interest in adopting the campaign in their communities in partnership with local hospitals. To date, Chilliwack and Mission have signed on, and more are expected to do so soon. To date more than 250 clinics throughout BC, Alberta and Ontario have signed on with Medimap. This number includes clinics in every Fraser Health community.