Medimap publishes wait times at walk-in clinics and hospitals
The initiative aims to reduce wait times in emergency rooms and take some of the pressure off family doctors
Medimap has made it more accessible for people to find out how long wait times are at walk-in clinics and hospitals across Canada.
The Canadian health-tech company is now publishing wait times on their website, with the goal to reduce delays in emergency rooms for patients. Medimap began in 2015 after its founder, Blake Adam, had the idea to create a website where people could find the nearest walk-in clinic to their location.
“There wasn’t a centralized resource for patients before Medimap, so that set Adam on the path of building Medimap. We want to build a resource for patients who can use an accessible website,” says Teddy Wickland, the vice-president of operations at Medimap.
“Now we work with about 70 per cent of the walk-in clinics in Canada and have started to expand to working with hospitals as well. We have also expanded to other types of care like physiotherapists, chiropractors, and mental health care professionals,” he says.
The company has also partnered with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority in November, so that clinics will be able to see more patients.
“Canada is experiencing a health care crisis with a shortage of doctors who can treat patients in hospitals. So, we reached out to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and basically said, ‘We have a solution that we think can help,’” Wickland says.
“A lot of patients who have the common cold or flu go to the emergency room and take up hospital beds, when they should instead directly go to a walk-in clinic.”
By doing this, wait times will decrease in hospitals and chronically ill patients will get the care they need.
“There are a lot of skilled workers who already exist in the healthcare ecosystem who could potentially see more patients. International doctors are waiting to work in Canada and this will help take some of the strain off of our healthcare system,” he says.
COVID-19 also affected the health care system, especially because many Canadians avoided going to the hospital and getting check-ups to avoid exposure.
“Many people didn’t want to go to a clinic because they were worried about contracting COVID-19 and put off care for a while. Now we are seeing an influx of patients who have gotten sicker because they put off that care,” Wickland says.
This is one of the reasons why wait times are increasing in emergency rooms and clinics this year.
“Our hope is that by adding other practitioner types, we can take some of the strain off of family doctors, by steering [patients] to other providers,” he says.
“Our goal is to be a one stop shop for patients. We need to start steering patients to places where there is access and care available, regardless of where they are located, what their needs are or what kind of coverage they have.”
Currently, Medimap has not partnered with any health regions in British Columbia, but they are planning on expanding their partnerships to other provinces soon. However, their website still does list wait times for clinics and hospitals in B.C.