No more waiting rooms: Montreal Walk-in Clinic will text you when the doctor is ready to see you

Ian Hardy

April 5, 2012 3:45 pm


A Montreal walk-in clinic is doing something pretty cool and hopefully the idea gets picked up by hospitals across the country. Sitting and waiting for hours to be diagnosed by a doctor can be a long haul, up to several hours, mainly caused by lack of funding and staff. Once you check in you then proceed to wait in a room with all the other sick people, just staring at each other.

At the MDCM walk-in clinic on St. Jacques St. West has implemented a phone service where people can get notified via text or voicemail of when a doctor will see them – within a hour! Patients will have to pay $3 per visit, but this gives them the flexibility to leave the clinic without missing their spot in line.

Sara Michaels, manager of the MDCM clinic said “We’ve had this system in place for only three weeks, but the patients are much less stressed, and we’re much more organized. The patients gain back their freedom. They don’t have to wait for four or five hours in a waiting room full of sick people. Instead, they can take a number, and then they can go out and do their groceries or whatever, and the system will alert them to come back. In a sense, it’s like coming in and asking for an appointment later in the day, something we couldn’t do before.”

The clinic apparently doesn’t make any money off the service (I think they should as it’s a great idea), all the collected cash goes towards keeping the automated phone system working smoothly.

3 bucks is certainly worth escaping a waiting room for a few hours. What do you think the chances of the Government rolling this service out in other health care facilities/hospitals? Slim?

Via: Montreal Gazette

  • Shawn

    This is a fantastic idea, and one that I’d love to see implemented in Ottawa.

  • Milpool

    Good idea. It’s better than that giant brick that some pharmacies hand you to let you know when your prescription is ready to be picked up from the counter.

    • PHARMACIST

      YES! because you stupid people are so cheap to pay $3 in a pharmacy for this kind of service. I know exactly what kind of dumbas* patients/customers come to the pharmacy who would raise HELL just because they would have to pay like a $1 for their medications. “My medication is supposed to be fully covered by my insurance” bla bla bla bullshit. You can wait at a doctor’s office for 5 hours but can’t wait for 15 minutes in the pharmacy? What do you think we do back there, i***t? THAT BRICK gives us relief when you get out of the pharmacy so we don’t have to watch your stupid face while you stare at us when we are trying to WORK!

  • ihaterobers

    any thing that can be helpful to sick people is great idea.and I thank very much for the people who come up with this idea.
    on the other hand makes you wonder what government is doing to make wait shorter .
    your tax dollar is not at work here.now some nice guy who we vote for in Ottawa will to open up smoke shop next to this clinic so people can spend there money while waiting for text from doctor office.so the budget is not deficient.

  • IAK

    This is fantastic

  • Bukovian Smorzhee

    If you have to go to an emergency room, you are probably too sick to go for a walk while you wait! Focus on lowering wait times first.

  • DURR

    Walk in clinic != emergency room. HURR DURR.

  • Steve

    Seeing as this is a great idea and actually makes sense, the chances of the Gov’t using something like this is slim to none.

  • buttttt

    “They don’t have to wait for four or five hours in a waiting room full of sick people. Instead, they can take a number, and then they can go out and do their groceries or whatever”

    but if the person is sick, they shouldnt be going out to make other healthy people sick.

  • Mystic09

    I do think this is a good idea, however text messages can be unreliable at times. For example, I do not get 100% of text messages sent to me, and sometimes there can be a delay of 15 minutes or longer.

    • MykeC

      That’s why there’s also the voicemail option as well.

  • GTP20

    Brilliant idea!!!

  • mb

    Can be a great idea but not for all kinds of people or all situations.
    MS you should write about that guy in Mtl that is suing Apple because he is not satisfied with Siri on his 4s. He’s saying he got fooled by the ad and can’t even use Siri anymore. Too funny that someone would buy it just for Siri but not that surprising either…

  • Bukovian Smorzhee

    My doctor is always 1 hour behind schedule so I just show up 1 hour later and I only wait 15min.

  • Mark

    My doctor diagnosis’s me over the phone using skype, I just strip down naked and he gets to see where it hurts!! Of course this takes some getting use to but for example if I have a sore throat I place my phone in a position that helps him see better if it’s a bum problem it gets a little bit trickier but for not having to go into the office to see him it’s a fair tradeoff!!

    Sends my prescriptions via picture messages too!!

    :)

    • Mark

      Seriously though it is a good idea, I actually go and ask how long it will be and they say come back in 1 hr, 2 hr our more depending on how busy it is. This way I can go and get some stuff done before hand without losing my spot. If they can text me it would be even easier.

  • François

    Actually there was are report on TV a few weeks ago about the Polyclinique Pierre-Le Gardeur (near Montreal). Them and a few others already offer to check in online at smsclinique.com. The service is 10$ to first get an approximate appointment time and then be advised 30 minutes before your appointment.

  • schultzter

    For years now the clinic I go to has been telling people when it will be their turn, and asking them to show up 30-minutes before. It works, it’s free, and doesn’t rely on any technology. There’s never more than a half-dozen people in their small waiting area. And they’ve been able to use the extra space for professional services (that aren’t covered by Healthcare).

    But if even that’s too long a wait for you, try calling 8-1-1, consulting your pharmacist, or going to a CLSC.

    Just don’t whine about lack of government funding and then whine about all the taxes we pay! Where do you think the government funding comes from!

  • jonno

    Great idea, and helpful. Granted, if someone is that sick they shouldn’t be going around to do other things such as groceries, but if it’s for a strange ache or for something else out of the ordinary, this would be quite brilliant.

    It is, of course, duly noted that this is NOT FOR THE ER, and also NOT PAID FOR BY TAX DOLLARS, so people shouldn’t be complaining on these two things. All this said, I’ve never used a walk-in clinic as I’ve been quite lucky to not only have a family doctor, but one who doesn’t have such a horribly packed schedule that he can’t see me as a patient for weeks on end.

  • icyhotonmynuts

    I see why ‘pharmacist’ isn’t in a professional medical position dealing directly with people, but only puts pills in a bottle, their bedside manner is abhorren

    As for this service… it sounds ininteresting at $3, but $10 is just unacceptable. I agree with the posts that wait time ought to shorten dramatically, rather than put up payment notification services, but this is a start to reduce over crowded cramped wait rooms to get some that are less sick out of there.
    Personally, I always show up in a face mask if I’m terribly sick – others should too.

  • Allan

    I lived in Japan for 14 years and they started doing this three or four years ago. Its done at every hospital I’ve visited. Its a good idea for sure.