When you’re not feeling well, you just want to get better. So going to a walk-in clinic seems like a quick fix. But doctors at walk-in clinics cannot access your medical history.

On the other hand, your family doctor knows more about you and can more thoroughly assess your condition.

And they can add it to your primary health record. Information from visits to walk-in clinics or emergency rooms is not automatically sent to your family doctor. Your family doctor only knows about these visits when you tell them.

Of course, walk-in clinic and emergency room visits happen since illness and injury can strike any time and anywhere. And sometimes you may have to wait to see your doctor.

Ask your doctor ahead of time about your options. They often can refer you to another doctor in their practice or to an after-hours clinic. This way, your information can be relayed to your family doctor so they remain updated on your health.

If you do visit a walk-in clinic or an emergency room, you may want to schedule a followup appointment with your family doctor so the visit can be added to your primary medical record. They can also advise if further care is needed.

This builds the relationship between you and your family doctor. In turn, that can reduce emergency department visits and the number and length of hospital stays. A good doctor-patient relationship can also increase your quality of life and overall health. That’s why continuity of care is vital to quality care.

This story appears in the latest issue of Health Matters magazine. Read the full issue here.

Calgary Foothills PCN’s Access 365 clinic provides after-hours care when family doctors’ offices are closed, and sends a note to a patient’s family doctor after each appointment. Find out more, including how to get an appointment.