Online Registration | Lessons Learned

 

Introduction

After 8 months (Where has the time gone!) of offering online registration at the Downtown Walk in Clinic in Charlottetown, PEI we have learned a lot and made a number of improvements and we wanted to share some of the steps on our journey.

Overall, clients have been very happy with our service and we have received a ton of constructive feedback.  We do run into the occasional unhappy client, but we work hard to identify any areas for improvement, and have not stopped developing Skip the Waiting Room’s service.  

Improvements and Changes

Our goal is to minimize the amount of time you spend in the clinic, so we have constantly been adjusting our algorithm to ensure clients spend as little time as possible waiting in the clinic – we have tightened up our tolerances, accounted for breaks in the schedule, allowed clients to cancel their own appointments, and given clients a departure window.  Keep in mind –  if a patient ahead of you does take longer with the physician than normal, it can impact how long you wait.  

Feedback Discussion

When is my appointment?

One of our most common pieces of feedback is that people would love to know an exact time to come into the clinic.  This is a constant balancing act, as we want to tell you to only to come to the clinic when it is the right time to do so.  We feel it is better for you to arrive and go quickly into an exam room than to get a set time at the beginning of the day.  In a perfect world we could do both, but the reality is that occasionally the physician gets held up, or has patients that require  a longer than average visit.

Once the physician arrives at the clinic, and starts to see patients,You may view an approximate departure time in two locations –  in the booking window if you left it open, or follow the link in the email or text message we send you.

 

Success Page - Departure Window

 

I want to be able to book multiple slots!

Yep – we are working on this, and we want to implement this feature ASAP.  It only makes sense that often a family would like to register multiple visits for their children, parents, etc.   

I want to register online and be seen first

To ensure that anyone who doesn’t have access to technology and the internet, a decision was made that the first visits of the day are only for clients who are arriving in person.  Clients who register online are seen after this first block of slots.  

If you wish to register in person often there can be a lineup starting as early as 7:30 am outside of the Downtown Walk in Clinic, with registration starting at 8:00 am, and the physician scheduled to start at 9:00 am.  

We feel that online registration is the best way to access the clinic, but do agree that access should be equal for all patients, and will continue to work and improve this evolution in the future.

Why are all the spaces full?

The Downtown Walk in Clinic currently allocates about one third of the clinic capacity for online registration, and then depending on how many people have shown up in person, it can increase from there.  In May, on average, all online clinic slots were being filled within 15 minutes, while in June all slots were being filled within 13 minutes. This is a much more reasonable pace as during the winter occasionally all the slots were being grabbed sometimes in under 30 seconds.

We are also working on a Wait List feature where you will be able to register to get notifications if additional slots open throughout the day.

We would love to work with more walk in clinics in any province, so if you want to be able to use our service, please pass this onto the clinic staff, owners, or doctors, and feel free to point them in our direction!

Did you have a question that we didn’t answer – please leave us a comment.

Next Steps

We are eager to expand on PEI, in Canada, and elsewhere.  We know that no one likes spending time in a waiting room, and while we have a great health care system in Canada, the wait times can be a bit overwhelming.  

The reality is that there is a much greater demand for healthcare services than people offering these services (in Canada) – that being said, you as a consumer need to voice your opinion and ask for more options when it comes to accessing these services.  Whether this is via implementation of services like Skip the Waiting Room, improved telephone reception services at clinics, being given an estimated return time, etc.    

Again, if you would like to use our services in the future at a clinic, let the staff, owners, pharmacy, or physicians know about our service and how it could really make an impact on the patients they see.

Skip the Waiting Room is engaged and working very hard to change how clients can access the health care system every day.  

We are always interested in your feedback and support.

Onward to our next milestone of 2500 clients receiving healthcare by registering online!

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