BC-built platform shows walk-in clinic wait times near you
February 27, 2020
Why can you go online to book a reservation at a restaurant, but you can’t check wait times at the nearest walk-in clinic? As patients, we typically head to a familiar walk-in clinic nearby completely unaware how long we’ll wait upon arrival, or what other clinics are nearby. However, many Canadians are now using Medimap to get a heads up.
“It allows people to easily compare wait times at walk-in medical clinics in their community,” said Blake Adam, CEO and Co-Founder of Medimap. “We make it easy for you to find a doctor when you need it.”
In 2019, the company launched a mobile app for patients so they can track their favourite clinics for quick reference, and set alerts to be notified when a clinic updates their wait time.
Blake Adam and his friend and co-founder – a software developer – were looking to solve a problem using technology. “Initially, it was just going to be a resource for same day access to care in White Rock, BC,” said Adam. “But as we grew, we realized this is something that patients need in other cities as well.”
Medimap is for individuals seeking care close to home; someone without a family doctor, or someone who is unable to get an appointment in a timely manner. It’s also for medical office staff at clinics. Registered clinics are currently updating their wait times every half hour throughout the day.
The platform is simple to use. By visiting medimap.ca and keying in an area close-to-home, in seconds you can see all of the walk-in clinics in the immediate area, and the current wait times. You can also see which clinics are closed or at capacity. At some clinics, patients may be able to pre-book an appointment.
Government health agencies can use this information as evidence to determine where walk-in clinics are in short supply. “The power of Medimap is that it can indicate where the gaps in care are, so that decisions can more accurately match supply and demand,” said Adam.
Medimap is free to end-users, and to clinics wanting to plug in and start publishing their wait times. However, premium features such as wait time analytics, and publishing of wait times on a clinic’s own website are available for a monthly fee.
To-date, almost 1,200 clinics in six provinces (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia) have already registered – a number equal to two-thirds of all walk-in clinics in Canada. “At this point, if you’re a walk-in clinic you need to be on Medimap,” said Adam. “Patients are actively seeking out care online.”
The one complaint commonly shared by clinics is they get inundated with calls inquiring about their wait times. Registering with Medimap can help alleviate this problem. “If even 10-percent of those callers go online to check wait times, it will make a tremendous difference,” said Adam.
Moreover, due to the nature of walk-in clinics – the peaks and valleys during the day – it may even help to drive business during slower times and has a leveling effect throughout the day.
Medimap aims to have every walk-in clinic across the country using the platforms so any Canadian who needs to see a doctor today can do so easily. “We also hope to continue expanding and to introduce innovative services, like online check-in, that make it easier for people to access care when they need it.”
In 2020, Medimap will be introducing virtual care to its platform. For patients not requiring an in-person consultation, they can connect with a doctor at a walk-in clinic in their community over secure video chat and follow-up in-person, if necessary.