IH is working on different ways to book lab appointments, other than by phone or walk-in. (Unsplash photo)

IH is working on different ways to book lab appointments, other than by phone or walk-in. (Unsplash photo)

Booking Trail lab appointments to expand beyond a phone line

Interior Health says online appointment booking is on the horizon

There’s good news for all those frustrated with long wait times for blood work in the Trail area.

Interior Health (IH) says online appointment booking is on the horizon, alongside continued availability of walk-in service.

“Pilot sites are to go live next month,” IH spokesperson Susan Duncan told the Times. “Our IMIT (Information Management Information Technology) is working hard on this initiative.”

The Times contacted Interior Health after receiving several calls and emails from readers voicing frustration with the difficulty of getting through to the one phone line IH has in place for patients to book a time for lab work.

After all, there are hundreds of people requiring regular blood work in the Greater Trail area, not to mention all the one-off tests likely ordered any given week.

The most recent call to the Times was from a gentleman in Rossland. He said his cancer diagnosis requires a routine blood panel every few months.

After getting a busy signal for five days and being unsuccessful in getting through to the receptionist — there is no option of leaving voicemail for a callback — he became quite disgruntled.

This patient questioned why Interior Health does not yet have a texting or online booking option in place.

“Manual booking was put into place to mitigate safety concerns from patient volumes at the sites and allow for designated times for immunocompromised patients,” said Duncan.

“We understand that difficulties getting through on the phone lines to book an appointment are a concern and we apologize for the distress this is causing patients.”

Duncan says recruitment of laboratory professionals remains a challenge across Interior Health, and nationally, and IH continues to work with its HR recruitment team to find viable solutions.

“As well, COVID pandemic regulations put in place for patient safety have prevented labs from seeing the same volumes of patients as pre-COVID.”

For the interim, Duncan notes that the Trail lab is still accepting walk-in patients, and appointments can also be made at that time.

“Finding human resources for the booking phone lines has been a challenge, however staff is currently managing to book an appointment every three to five minutes,” she said.

“As new staff is hired, it is anticipated that the phone line hours will be extended to accommodate more phone bookings. We are hopeful that this can occur by September 2020.”

In June, Interior Health started asking people needing tests from the Trail Health Centre Clinic to call ahead and schedule an appointment.

As part of IH’s COVID-19 response, changes were made to laboratory procedures at facilities in Trail, Castlegar, Nelson, and Grand Forks.

“This change is consistent with steps we are taking across our facilities to ensure a safe environment for staff and patients,” IH spokesperson Erin Toews told the Times in mid-June.

“It recognizes that with the previous drop-in service there were times when a large number of people may have been waiting in the same area for their tests, which creates a risk of exposure to COVID-19,” she said.

“We will be monitoring how this system is working.”

To book a time in Trail, patients are asked to call 250.368.8141 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on weekdays.

The Trail lab is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

BC Healthinteriorbc

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

RCMP responded to a report early Friday morning of a suspect firing a gun at a Salmo home. Photo: Black Press
RCMP arrest woman who fired shots at Salmo home

The woman allegedly discharged a firearm early Friday morning

Summit Ski Hill had a delayed start to the season because of warm temperatures. Photo: Summit Ski Hill
Late season start frustrating for Nakusp ski hill

Summit Ski Hill only just opened Jan. 14

Four friends were heading to their home on Highway 6 just south of Silverton on the evening of Dec. 25, 2020, when the people in the front of the vehicle saw what looked like a “huge, man-like figure” on the side of the road. (Pixabay.com)
Possible Bigfoot sighting shocks, excites Silverton residents

‘I didn’t see the creature myself, I saw the prints’

Police were called after a man was witnessed stabbing tires with the fence post. Photo: Thanh Serious on Unsplash
Trail RCMP eport erratic man, suspicious fire and prohibited driver

Brief from the media release from the Trail and Greater District RCMP detachment

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Andre Robert won $500,000 through a Lotto Extra ticket on Dec. 23, 2020. Photo: Jeanne d’Arc Allard
Creston resident wins $500k through Lotto ticket

“I was surprised. I wasn’t sure if it was true or not.”

Most Read