The No Appointment Show
This week, a look at the promises and pitfalls of "no appointment" health care. We drop by a walk-in clinic in Ottawa and find out how doctors there manage to see up to 500 patients a day. You'll also hear from a health policy expert about why he believes walk-in clinics may give patients the fast service they want, but not the health care they need.
We'll also share some of the emails we received from you in response to our recent show on Privacy.
Tune in Saturday, February 5 at 11 a.m. (11:30 a.m. NT). Note that we are pre-empted on Monday, February 7 for Canada Reads, but will return as usual on Saturday, February, 12 and Monday, February 14.
Click below to listen to our No Appointment show, or download the podcast:
I visit the hub of Appletree Medical Group in Ottawa, headquarters to a chain of 11 walk-in clinics in the nation's capital that uses technology and blinding speed.
We meet Dr. Jean Oosthuizen, a GP who gave up the family practice that he ran by himself to join Appletree. Listen as he demonstrates a tablet computer that he says helps him keep track of the patients who come to the clinic. Internist Dr. Pravin Shukle, who also works at Appletree, says technology has made it possible to streamline appointments (and save time) by allowing family doctors to peer electronically into Dr. Shukle's schedule and book appointments in the gaps.
Fifty thousand of the quarter of a million patients who visit Appletree Medical Clinics in Ontario each year don't have a family doctor. And a surprising number of people who visit walk-ins have a GP but choose not to see them. In the ER, I see patients like that all the time.
I speak to a health policy expert who is not so enamored. Dr. Michael Rachlis says the growth of walk-in medicine is a symptom of the failure of provincial authorities to make changes in family medicine, also known as primary care. Rachlis tells us why walk in clinics give patients the fast service they want - not necessarily the health care that they need.
I think 'no-appointment' health care is too entrenched in the system to be gotten rid of by improving access to your family doctor. To me, that ship has sailed.