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A much nicer waiting room.

I’m curious about the concept of the walk in. Yes, things that can be scheduled are easier to plan for. It’s hard to mix appointment based planning with walk ins, unless you have systems in place to handle both.

How do you triage walk ins, if at all? First in first out?

I’m sitting now in the waiting room of a walk in clinic that opens at 9 AM on a Sunday morning. Arriving 10 minutes before it opens, there’s already a car in the parking lot. I get out to wait at a locked door. There are two entrances that are both locked and the lady in the other car decides to wait at the second locked door. Other people arrive and start queueing behind her.

Fortunately, Canadians have a lot of decorum around queue waiting and I get let in as second in the queue. Fair enough. The lady in front of me was waiting in the parking lot before I arrived

Two minutes after nine, the door opens up and we file in. The line is seven deep. The lady in front of me had an appointment scheduled with a doctor for 9 AM. The doctor she was supposed to see won’t be in. She’s upset she wasn’t informed, however, she’s consoled in knowing that another doctor will see her and that’s she’ll be first. The doctor hasn’t come in yet.

9:04 AM… I’m next in line. The admin is cordial. I’m registered.

It’s 9:19 AM. No one has been called in yet. 11 of the 14 seats are filled. Someone is watching a video on their phone without a headset. There are sounds of a vacuum cleaner beyond the door. Some one doing cleaning emerges at 9:20 to head out.

9:23, I’m called in. Get put in a waiting room, doctor appears two minutes later. Within five minutes, I’m out.

I can’t complain about this. If I had come 10 minutes later, it would have meant waiting an hour. The three hour window for service on Sundays creates a lot of demand.

Could there be a better system for in person walk in? Maybe an online queueing and appointment times? Maybe real time updates on queue lengths? Systemically, maybe incentivizing doctors to work outside normal hours could help?

The only reason I think about queues so much is that when I’m in them, it helps pass the time.

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