Website Helps Patients Access Healthcare During Holiday Season

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RELEASE — Over the past year, holidayhours.ca displayed over 80,000 holiday hours from more than 11,000 healthcare facilities across Canada. Last winter, holidayhours.ca showed holiday hours for all hospitals & urgent care centres, and in Ontario, the site covered 88% of all walk-in clinics, pharmacies & medical labs.

With continually updated information about healthcare options, the website and app are the most up-to-date resource of healthcare facilities, showing what’s open and where. Information about languages spoken, services offered, and online appointment booking for some clinics and pharmacies is also available.

Dr. Ryan Doherty, founder of Empower Health and iamsick.ca, which offers holidayhours.ca said, “There’s no better place for Canadians to access reliable information about their healthcare options during the holidays.” He continued, “Studies show that only 1 in 3 Canadians are able to access healthcare without going to an emergency department during holidays and that 40% of those who go to emergency could have been treated by a regular healthcare provider. It’s no wonder many hospitals regularly see a 20% increase in visits during the holidays, especially during flu season.”

Last year, Angie Hamson’s 18-year-old son returned home from college on Christmas Eve with symptoms of chicken pox. “Our doctor’s office was closed, and I didn’t want to risk spreading it to vulnerable people in the emergency room. Plus, we’d be waiting for hours as it wasn’t an emergency. Luckily, I found a clinic on holidayhours.ca that could see us right away. My son did wind up having chicken pox and would have exposed the rest of the family. We were able to confirm the diagnosis, get some suggestions about how to ease his symptoms, and keep him away from grandma. And we did it all without spending the night in the hospital waiting room. Christmas was saved!”


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“Provincial governments are spending millions on unnecessary emergency room visits and surge beds for the flu. holidayhours.ca and iamsick.ca can help steer patients to the right healthcare options in their communities and lessen the burden on our healthcare system. There are many untapped resources in the community. Patients just need to be aware of those options when they need access to care. While iamsick.ca helps year-round, holidayhours.ca specifically addresses access to healthcare services during the holidays, when families struggle to find care.” said Dr. Doherty.

Coverage of Holiday Hours in December 2017 (click to enlarge)

Empower Health offers a web-based and mobile digital health platform that connects Canadians with local healthcare options. The platform combines the most up-to-date information about medical clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals with an industry-leading eBooking and virtual waiting room service.

The company focuses on empowering patients and healthcare providers through iamsick.ca and holidayhours.ca, which have the broadest and most reliable provider information for Canadians seeking healthcare, any day of the year, including the busy holiday season. Empower Health (formerly known as iamsick.ca) is a member of MaRS Discovery District, the University of Toronto Impact Centre incubator, and the L-SPARK accelerator in Ottawa.


Release and map source: Empower Health
Photo – Toronto General Hospital: Wikimedia Commons (cc)