Finding a family doctor can be a difficult task, however, it is essential that everyone living in Ontario have a family doctor especially now during a World Pandemic.
Family doctors take care of patients in an integral way and follow patients and their families over long periods of time. It is important to create a long-term relationship with a health provider as sometimes, health issues can be complex and layered and only your family doctor that knows you best can help you navigate health challenges in a coordinated and timely fashion.
Since the start of the COVID 19 Pandemic, we have seen new options for accessing health care. New virtual walk-in clinics have appeared on the scene, as well as private online clinics. The difference between going to a walk-in clinic where you see a physician only once, for 1 specific problem, or becoming a patient of a Family Health Organization is very different.
Why get a family doctor in a Family Health Organization?
-Family Doctors form long-term relationships with patients.
-Family Doctors provide a “Home” for a patient’s health care needs.
-Family Doctors work in teams to provide patients with integral health
-Family Doctors help patients Navigate the complex network of resources that our health system provides
-Family Doctors help coordinate the care of patients to help them obtain a logistically sound and organized patient care experience
-Family Doctors are connected through technology to different platforms of our health care system and can access medical records of patients that have obtained health services in various locations.
-Family Doctors in Family Health Organizations provide same-day and after-hours services to help patients with emergent medical needs.
-Family Doctors help patients obtain access to services such as Home Care who help patients such as elderly patients, obtain health services in their homes.
-Family Doctors can work closely with other health care professionals such as physiotherapists, nutritionists.
-Some Family Doctors do home visits
-Family Doctors connect patients to specialists and can communicate with them through referrals, consultations, or teleconferences.
-Family Doctors connect patients to a rich network of mental health resources available to patients in Toronto.
How to prepare for your first visit.
When you prepare for your first visit with your family doctor it is important to determine the objective of your visit. Most Family Doctors will provide a patient with a first consultation called a “Meet and Greet”. The objective of this meeting is to collect as much medical information from the patient and establish a working relationship between the patient and physician. At times, patients may come with an urgent medical need, in this case, the attention will be diverted to this need. Most family doctors will not address multiple small chronic medical needs in the first visit.
To get the most out of your visit with your new Family Doctor come prepared!
How to prepare for your first visit:
1) Collection Demographic and Identification Information:
- Bring your updated Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) Card
- Make sure your OHIP card is up to date, not expired.
- If you have recently moved, make sure you update your OHIP card. Your OHIP card is composed of 10 numbers and 2 capital letters (the version code). The letters change every time you move. Your family doctor needs to always have updated OHIP card so they can get remunerated.
- At Umedical we ask patients to provide information about their demographics and medical history by way of filling PHIPA approved online forms. Filling these forms before your visit can save valuable time during your first visit so your family doctor can focus on history taking.
- Pick a pharmacy that is close to your home and inform your family doctor’s secretary, so we have this information in your file. Even if you do not take regular prescribed medications, it is important that your file is updated with a pharmacy so that your doctor knows where to send you a prescription when you need it for an episodic health issue.
- Be sure to update our front staff of any changes in your address, health card number
- Be sure you know your Medication List, make note of your dosing schedule. Be sure to have this list at hand when you have your first visit with your family doctor.
- Make sure you use the same name every time you visit a health care center. A lot of patients have multiple surnames or names. Be sure to register with your name EXACTLY as it shows on your health card. Our clinic receives patient results from hospitals and covid vaccinations clinics electronically. Our computer will match these results and electronically file it to your e-file. If the names do not match, it will take longer to get your result as it will need to be filed manually.
2)Collection of Medical Records:
Your family doctor will want to collect previous medical information from you.
- Bring the names of all the physicians (specialists) you have seen in the past
- Make a list of the hospitals or diagnostic centers where you have had interventions, hospitalizations, or testing. Ideally bring their address phone and fax number.
- If you are transferring from another Family Doctor: sometimes it may be difficult to obtain your old file, in particular if it is from your old family doctor. The reason for this is that your old file may be large, and your previous family doctor does not have an efficient file-sharing system. In this case, we recommend that you obtain a hard copy from your old family physician and bring it on your first visit. You can obtain this copy in the form of a USB drive, CD ROM or a paper copy. Please note that Doctors have the right to charge an administration fee to collect/ compile/ copy and dispense your old records. This fee will vary depending on the size of your file and may range from $30-$80. It is your responsibility to pay these administrative fees. We recommend you communicate directly with your old family physician’s secretary to get your records as soon as you decided to leave this physician.
3) Collection of Medical Information:
On your Meet and Greet visit you will be asked to provide in writing your medical health history.
- -past medical history
- -history of surgeries
- -medication history
Your doctor will spend time clarifying and obtaining more details about your medical history.
4) Review of Clinic Policies
During your meet and greet your Physician will review our Umedical Clinic Policies
At Umedical Family Health Organization we have clinic policies that guide the functioning and responsibilities of both family doctors and patients. Some of these policies include the following:
- Patients should advise us of appointment cancellations with a minimum of 48 hrs notice in writing, via a voice message, or by calling the clinic directly. You will be charged a no-show fee if you do not advise us of your cancellation.
- If a patient is more than 15 minutes late to their appointment they will miss the appointment and it will be considered a no show
- Patients can call for same-day appointments, we advise that this be done as early as possible in the day, ie at 8: 30 am.
- For non-urgent administrative concerns, patients can send a message to our clinic via email.
- Email is used solely for requesting appointments or administrative inquiries. Our physicians will not respond to medical concerns via email.
We’re very excited to welcome new patients to our clinic at Umedical Family Health Organization.
We hope you have a safe 2022 and we look forward to meeting your healthcare needs.
Warm Regards from The Umedical Family Health Organization Team.