Winter is the peak time of year for people to get sick – cold temperatures don’t themselves cause illnesses, but people are more likely to huddle indoors and pass around diseases when it’s chilly out. Cold and flu viruses also survive better at low temperatures, so you’re more likely to come into contact with one. That means this time of year, doctors’ offices are almost inevitably crammed full, and waiting times at walk-in clinics can run to hours.
Elicare Medical in central Richmond is the exception. It’s a new clinic so wait times are low anyway, and while eventually it will offer family and specialty medicine, it currently offers only walk-in services including the flu shot – an essential for everyone, but particularly children, seniors and those who work with them.
The clinic also boasts a range of hi-tech equipment that helps speed things up. “One of the things we’re really excited about is self check-in, where patients fill in a yes/no computer questionnaire about their reason for visiting. It reduces wait times and increases privacy because they don’t need to wait to see a receptionist and explain their condition to him or her,” says Richard Wang, Elicare’s director of operations. “It’s also helpful for those who don’t speak fluent English because the questionnaire can be delivered in 13 different languages. The information goes to the doctor instantly so she or he is prepared when you walk into the consultation and can focus on the key issue instead of becoming bogged down in administration.”
The clinic also offers telephone consultations with doctors, an online booking system for walk-in patients, email and text appointment reminders, a portal that lets you to access your own test results and information, and a joined-up communication system that allows, for example, for photos of conditions to be shared with specialists in an assistant. All this technology doesn’t mean the personal touch is lacking. For those patients who prefer to deal with real people or who aren’t confident in their computer skills, there are receptionists who can assist them as normal, and the doctors are highly skilled, empathetic and experienced. “It’s all about empowering patients to do things their way, offering quality, caring services from remarkable doctors,” says Wang.
Elicare Medical’s new Richmond branch is at 140 5611 Cooney Road (beside the new T&T supermarket by Lansdowne Mall) and is open 9am-5pm, Monday to Saturday. To find out more, visit Elicare.ca/cooney, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.