I finally bit the bullet today and went to the walk-in clinic. My “cold” that showed up five days ago has had me now bedridden for the past two. I’ve been to my neighbourhood walking clinic about a dozen times in the past 10 years and sometimes I wait 5 minutes, and sometimes I wait 2 hours. Today was a day that I was hoping for that 5 minute wait. As
I was getting ready to get to the clinic before the doors opened I kept second guessing that maybe I should wait until a better time during the day when the backlogs were caught up on and lineups would be low. I felt like I was playing the lottery: do I go now, or wait? At this point I was really wishing for some information on my walk-in clinic’s waiting times to help me make a better decision so I could minimize my time in a lineup with other sick people and maximize my time in bed by myself.
I like having information at my fingertips to optimize my decision making. One of my favorite apps GasBuddy lets me find the cheapest gas from my current location. App members enter the price of gas from a given station and that information is shared in real time. I like that. Saves me time, saves me money, and saves me from second guessing that I might be wasting time or money. I got to the walk-in clinic 20 minutes before it opened which put me 6th in line and it took 45 minutes for patient #2 to see a doctor. The math was telling me that I need an app for that. I was wondering if the GasBuddy model could be applied to walk-in clinics: let walk-in clinic users share their waiting times for the benefit of those users that follow soon after. Sounds good in theory, but waiting times are very static, and a high number of user inputs would have to be collected in a short period of time over time for the information to be useful in the short-term. Perhaps more a more feasible application of the data would be to generate more generic statistics such as “clinic with the shortest wait times” or “best day to visit my local clinic”. That’s information I would have used to my benefit today.
I actually waited 2 hours to see a doctor today. I felt like I played the lottery and lost: speculated and found I was wrong. I’m thinking of changing clinics now to one that understands that my time is valuable, especially when I’m sick. Are there stats out there for clinic waiting times? Can I share my experience today for the benefits of others in the future? Is there an app for that? I would love to hear your experiences and comments!