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Our Policies FAQ   

In order to be a patient of our group or receive care in our offices, we ask you to understand and agree to follow these 3 critical and important rules.

1. Our staff cannot give the results of any test over the telephone, at any time.

There are 2 main reasons for this. First we must ensure the confidentiality of your medical information. This cannot be guaranteed by phone. Second, in certain cases, it is important for the doctor to reassess, or apprise you of your condition in order to ensure that both they and you have a full understanding of your problem. Only the doctor can properly answer your questions and ensure that you are aware of the relevance and significance of the results.

There is a famous saying in the medical profession: ‘Never treat a lab test.’ Often, people are surprised to learn that lab tests are not always 100% accurate. Furthermore, many patients don't realize that we perform certain tests only to support a diagnosis, not to make the diagnosis.

Additionally, it should be self-evident that certain tests are just too important not to review in person with a patient. Examples include: pap tests, mammograms, STD tests, including HIV and the many complex and interpretive tests that are ordered during the diagnostic process. The limitations of these tests when taken alone must be understood by patients. Tests that are ordered are only a part of the diagnostic process. Having read this information, can you imagine the doctor explaining all of this each time over the phone? It is not appropriate.

Being aware of this, the doctor will explain at the time the tests are taken, what, if any, follow-up is required. If the doctor does call you back in; it is because, in their medical judgment and with your best interests in mind, something about the patient or their case needs to be discussed, clarified, re-tested or reassessed in light of the information received.

2. We do not renew prescriptions over the phone.

We cannot renew any prescriptions by phone. It is both yours and the doctor’s responsibility to assess, at the time of your visit and based on your conditions and any other relevant personal circumstance, the appropriate quantities of medication to be dispensed as well as the appropriate follow-up interval.

This is the cornerstone of good prescribing practice. So please take a moment during each visit with the doctor to ensure that the quantity of medication is sufficient and that you understand why certain medications or conditions have to be monitored on a regular basis. You should also understand what is being monitored on those visits, and any signs or symptoms to look for or to report to the doctor.

For those patients on 3 or more ongoing medications, we also offer a Med-Check service where you can book an appointment with a pharmacist to review your medications, their effects, potential side effects, interactions, as well as ways to ensure they are taken properly so that you get the best possible results from the prescribed treatments, with a minimum of side effects. This can be booked online under ‘Services’ on our website. Each patient is entitled to 1 Med-Check per year if they are on 3 or more ongoing medications.

3. We do not prescribe narcotics to patients of other physicians.

Our doctors do not prescribe narcotics on an “Open Office Hours” basis. Nor do we keep addictive drugs in the Centers. People who use narcotics for medical reasons must get them from one family doctor only, and should only use one pharmacy for filling them. Doctors within our group do not prescribe narcotics to other doctor’s patients, even if that doctor is a member of our group. It is the patient and their doctors’ joint responsibility to plan ahead, ensuring that sufficient and appropriate amounts of narcotic medications are provided until the next assessment.

FAQ

1. I need a family doctor. Which doctors are taking new patients?
Our group of doctors work as a team and while you are welcome to come to the center when you are sick, it is up to each individual doctor to decide if they can accept a patient into the practice as a regular patient or not. The doctors are not obligated to accept any patients into their practice. Please also be aware we are non-narcotic facilities.

To make access easier for patients we post our policies on our website at www.appletreemedicalgroup.com as well as our appointment policies. We accept appointments for the specialty services listed on the website by on-line request. Make sure you use our website as it continues to evolve and it plays a big part in helping us to provide you and your family with better access to services.

When you are not feeling well and need to see a doctor, you will find our approximate wait times for illness-related visits updated every 1/2 hour across the capital and posted on the website 'wait time and locations' icon. Illness related visits do not require an appointment. Just check the wait time online and proceed to the nearest or quickest location. Always bring any medications you are taking with you to each visit.

There is obviously a doctor shortage in the capital, with less than 1% of family doctors accepting patients at any given time. We are working together to help ameliorate the problems this causes, and hopefully the information above and on our website is helpful to you so you and your family can get medical care when you need it.

2. Why are the physicians schedules not posted?
The physicians at Appletree work as a team in order ensure that there is always someone available to see you when you are sick. To that end, their schedules are not always consistent and they have asked us not to post their schedule but to assure patients that when they are not available there will always be a physician to see. The daily physician is always posted on our wait timer and is updated every half hour.

3. Where do I find the hours of operation and contact information for the clinics?
On the wait timer click the clinic address in blue to find hours of operation, phone numbers and address information.

4. I checked the wait timer and it said 15 min but when I arrived at the clinic there was a two hour wait?
The wait time is updated by our staff every half hour. We do our best to estimate an accurate wait time but the amount of patients that come in at a certain time can change very quickly.

5. I tried to book an appointment online and no one has responded.
First of all, check your junk mail and add to your safe senders list. You should receive a phone call within 72 hours of submitting your booking request. If after 72 hours you have not heard from us please call 613-482-0118 for assistance.

6. Why can't I book an appointment with my family doctor online?
When you are sick, appointments are useful in many situations for both patients and doctors to organize their time. However, an unintended consequence of appointments is that they don't work very well for people in the following situations:

  1. People that are feeling ill and need to be seen that day
  2. People who do not have convenient access to a phone when they are sick
  3. People who do not speak English or who have other communication barriers

It is obvious that in a system with a doctor shortage an appointment-driven practice fills up weeks in advance, and these 3 groups of patients are then excluded, often getting their primary care in emergency departments which is not ideal. Therefore, our family doctors all have 'open office hours', and will see patients without appointments during those times. There is almost always an open office physician available, and any interruptions to this are posted in real time on the web. We feel that the 'if you are sick, come right in' system is fairer to all our patients, and in particular those who are ill and need our care the most.

As a result, if you need to see a doctor:

  1. Check the wait timer,
  2. Pick the most convenient time and location
  3. Come directly in.

7. Why can't I call the my clinic directly to book an appointment?
Appletree uses a central booking callcentre in order to serve you better. You will be served much quicker by the representatives at the callcentre than if the call went directly to the centre as the centres are very busy serving patients in person in order to get them in to see the physician.

8. Why can't I get any information about my family member who is seeing the doctor currently?
The privacy act will not allow us to disclose any information about any patients who are being seen by the physician in our clinics.

9. When will you get my test results?
Following is a table of approximate turnaround times for test results in the Ottawa area. Please note that all turnaround times are subject to change.

Test Turnaround Time
Diagnostic Imaging (Mammogram, Bone Density, X-Ray, Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, Fluoroscopy) 7 business days
Lab Results- Routine 7 business days
Lab Results- Public Health (e.g., HIV, STDs, VDRL, prenatal tests) 14 business days
MRI/CT Results 4 weeks
Paps, Biopsies 4 weeks

The doctor will contact you if it is necessary to review the test results with you. You may always return to the clinic to review your test results even if you are not called back, especially if you are still feeling unwell or would like to ask further questions about the test. To ensure confidentiality, staff cannot answer questions about test results over the phone at any time. No exceptions.



 

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