The next available appointment for routine work via the online booking service is April 11, but AHS says people can get around this by opting for walk-in service.
Okotokians in need of routine lab work will likely be waiting a while before they can get an appointment.
As of March 1, appointments at DynaLIFE, which opened its location on Southridge Drive back in December, are booking well into April – six weeks out.
The transition to DynaLIFE from Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL) via several community patient service centres, announced in June of last year, was part of a new service agreement between the two private healthcare organizations and Alberta Health Services (AHS). At the time, representatives said the move would result in better service for Albertans.
In Okotoks’ case, an Alberta Precision Labs representative said the new facility would have “more convenient hours than the service currently available at the urgent care centre.”
Lab services at the Okotoks Health and Wellness Centre run 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, as does the DynaLIFE facility.
In an emailed statement this week, AHS said it is working with DynaLIFE to extend the hours of operation for the Okotoks service centre in the future.
AHS representative Kerry Williams also said the health authority understands the importance of having timely access to laboratory services and results and that turnaround times for both urgent and routine tests are closely monitored to meet “stringent requirements.” They did not indicate whether the current wait time is meeting those standards.
There are also alternatives to online booking, according to Williamson.
“Online booking provides a convenience for those without time sensitive appointments,” he said. “If the next available appointment does not meet the needs of the lab requisition, there are alternate options to access services in a timely manner.”
These options include calling the appointment booking line at 1-877-702-4486 or opting for walk-in service. Individuals with requisitions generated at hospitals or urgent care can use in-hospital labs operated by APL.
Providing additional information to call centre staff, including where the requisition came from, what types of testing and when the blood work needs to be completed, can help staff find the best location to ensure your blood work is completed in a timely manner, AHS said. Call centre staff will work with the patient to try to meet as many of their requirements for an appointment as possible, suggesting alternate locations, dates or times.
When reached for comment, DynaLIFE provided a response which mirrored that of AHS.