New hospital check-in app safe, easy and fast

Marisca tries out a new app to avoid waiting in line at the hospital

No one likes change.

Even if it is for the better, it seems like people have a hard time adjusting to new ways of doing things. I know this first hand because anytime Facebook makes a slight modification, I hear swear words coming from behind The Interior News’ editor’s desk. But most times, change is for the better. Even if it takes time to adjust.

I recently had to go to the lab at Bulkley Valley District Hospital and I tried out a new app to make my appointment. Northern Health recently launched the remote check-in app for lab appointments with the hope it will help with physical distancing and eliminate wait times.

I downloaded it on my phone (which was easy enough for me to find in the app store and download) and noticed the wait time was over an hour. So I decided it wasn’t the right time for me to head over to the hospital.

The following day, I dropped off my daughter at school and looked at the app again. There was only a 10 minute wait. I headed over to the hospital and checked in while I was in the parking lot. Shortly afterwards, I got a notification saying to come in. It was so simple. I din’t have to go to the hospital, check in, take a number and wait in the hallway with a bunch of other strangers that didn’t want to be there.

Or worse, bumping into someone you know and have to awkwardly explain why you are there. Or possibly worse, sitting next to a chatty Cathy and hearing about all her problems. Instead, I walked in, had some routine bloodwork done and walked out. It was under 10 minutes.

However, the medical lab technician who took my blood said she’s heard a lot of complaints about the new way of checking in. The other option is to call and make an appointment but apparently some people prefer the old way of just showing up and waiting.

The service can also be accessed from a computer on the Northern Health Website and is very simple to use, for those that don’t want to download another app on their phone. And one day there will be kiosks for those who don’t have access to the phone or computer. The kiosks would work similarly to those in airports for flight check-in.

There are kinks to work out, just like any new way of doing things. The lab tech explained to me that there’s an algorithm and if someone is coming in for blood work or an ECG, there is a time allotted for it but if the appointment is over sooner, which she said was often the case, the wait time for the next person gets bumped up quicker.

If you checked in and thought you had a half hour to drive into town and then suddenly the lab is calling you, asking you where you are, it might be stressful. This app is simply a pilot project and hopefully those kinks get worked out soon because I thought it was an easy way to make an appointment.

There’s no nice way to get blood work done but avoiding the crowds and saving time makes it easier.

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The other downfall to the app is for the older generation or those not tech savvy that might not know how to use it or are scared to try it. I highly recommend finding a friend who knows about apps and getting a quick lesson.

In this COVID era, things are changing and adapting all the time especially when it comes to doctor appointments and visiting the hospital. I get it. It’s hard to keep up. But this new way of checking in was safe, easy and fast.


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