How to search for a family doctor when you move to a new city can stump anyone. Where do you start? What tools and resources do you use?
Sabra Saleh Kassongo faced this dilemma when she moved to Edmonton to join her husband in March 2012. Familiar with the health systems of Dubai, Tanzania and Senegal where she had lived before coming to Canada, she thought she could see a specialist directly for a prescription for her asthma.
“They told me ‘you can’t just go to a specialist. You have to go to a family doctor and if you need to see one, they will appoint one for you,’” says Kassongo.
She turned to the Internet for help and began randomly searching for family doctors.
“It was frustrating because it was a lot of information. I didn’t know which link to believe, which link to follow or which one to take as the actual source,” she adds.
Building on her frustration was the fact that she wasn’t familiar with Edmonton’s geography or neighbourhoods and didn’t know if the doctors’ locations were close to where she lived.
After a few weeks of searching, Kassongo gave up. Her hope rose after seeing a report on Edmonton CTV News about a new website created by nine Edmonton-area Primary Care Networks to that helps the public find a family doctor who is accepting new patients.
She immediately began her search with www.edmontonareadocs.ca and found six clinics in the Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network that were accepting new patients. Within a week, she had a family doctor at the Meadowbrook Medical Clinic and had a checkup completed for both her and her husband.
“It was so easy. This was such a convenient method. I didn’t have to stress about asking different people what family doctor they had. It was a comforting process for us,” says Kassongo.