Coming to see us in a clinic visit soon? Here’s what to expect, along with helpful forms you may print and fill out in advance.
Before your appointment
- If you are physically able, we consider it mandatory to attend one of the osteoporosis education classes (Osteoporosis Bone and Health) prior to your appointment. Upon receipt of the referral from your primary care doctor, one of our physicians will review it to determine the best pathway for care. If you are being referred for a more complex metabolic bone disease problem, the physician may recommend that you not attend the osteoporosis class, if it is expected to be less relevant to your care.
- After triage by the DHOC physician, you will be contacted for scheduling into one of the education classes. If you are physically unable to attend or are coming from a long distance, an online version of the class is available here.
- Once you are assigned to a clinic visit booking, you will be contacted by the booking staff to confirm the details of your appointment.
- Please consider printing and filling out the Pre-Consult Questionnaire – this will help ensure that your details are correct for review with the physicians in clinic.
- Some of our patients may benefit from a one-on-one consultation with our clinic dietitian. This is usually available at the same time as the physician visit however, it is not usually possible to decide in advance who will need to see the dietitian; this is a decision you will make with the physician at your appointment. Therefore, we ask all osteoporosis patients to fill out a 3-day meal record and bring it with you to the appointment, in case the dietitian consult is needed. This will be further explained by the booking staff when they call you for the appointment booking.
- Insurance reimbursement for medications that reduce osteoporotic fractures can be complex. Our clinic pharmacist has a large amount of experience with each of the insurers operating in Alberta. If possible, bring your drug insurance details with you to the clinic as it may assist in determining your coverage of various treatment options.
- Finally, if you are using any kind of alternative medicines/vitamin/minerals, it may be useful to bring these along in order for us to better understand exactly what you are taking.
Coming to the clinic appointment
- Location: See our address and map to the clinic posted here. The DHOC is located on the second floor of the building, accessible by elevator from the parking lot.
- Parking: Underground, heated patient parking is provided by AHS Parking Services with entry off of Richmond Road. After you park, there is a payment machine beside the elevator. You do not need to put a ticket on your dashboard, just enter your car license plate at the time of payment. AHS Parking Services charges $5 per hour (rates subject to change).
- How long will the appointment take? If you are coming for your very first visit, you should probably expect to be in the clinic for at least 1.5 to 2 hours. We do our best to respect your time and abide by the appointment schedule. However, sometimes particularly difficult cases may require extra time and especially if consultation with the dietician and/or pharmacist are also required. Thank you for your patience – we want to give each patient the necessary time to address their health concerns fully.
- After arrival in the clinic on the second floor, please alert the desk staff that you have arrived! This is very important so that you are not left sitting in the waiting room or marked as a “no show” in the scheduling system. The desk staff will ask to confirm your health care number and current address.
- After check-in, a medical office assistant will measure your weight and height using a specialized device called a stadiometer. This highly accurate tool will help us to carefully monitor your height over time, alerting us to any height loss that might indicate an underlying vertebral fracture.
- Following height measurement, you will be escorted into a clinic room to await the physician. If you have not already filled out the osteoporosis risk and health questionnaire, you may be asked to do so while waiting. Please note, depending on your health history, this questionnaire may take some time to complete - we strongly recommend that you consider printing this form and filling it out at home then bringing it with you to clinic.
- Depending on your health complexity, your visit with the physician may take from 30 to 60 minutes. Please be aware that our clinic is affiliated with the University of Calgary and we often have medical students, residents and endocrinology specialty trainees learning with us in clinic. Therefore, you may first be asked to see one of these students. Rest assured that you will still see one of the Osteoporosis Physicians who will review all details with both you and the student and it is always the DHOC Physician who will make the final decisions about your care with you. We are the only teaching clinic for metabolic bone disease in Alberta and many patients enjoy meeting the students - you may be surprised at the very comprehensive evaluation you will get with these junior doctors!
- For patients for whom a dietitian consult is deemed necessary, you will usually be able to see the dietician right after finishing with the physician.
- For many patients who will be starting on medical therapy, once you have completed your physician visit, you will go to the pharmacy office where the clinic pharmacist will provide you with additional written information about your treatment plan. She will answer questions about insurance coverage and is able to help with the steps required when special insurance authorization is needed.
Follow up after the appointment
A commitment to a long term plan design.
The first appointment is really just the beginning. Where possible, the DHOC physician will put together a long term management plan, usually spanning 3 to 5 years. In most cases, your primary care doctor will be able to implement the full plan after receiving the necessary information from both the DHOC physician and the DHOC pharmacist.
Additional testing, if needed.
In some cases, your DHOC physician may order additional tests and/or request a clinic follow-up visit with you to review results or finish the decision making and plan. Your physician should inform you if this will be the case but please feel free to ask if it is unclear whether you need to return or not.
I forgot to ask….
We recognize that often questions or concerns may arise after you have left the clinic. You are welcome to call the DHOC and our desk staff will direct your call. We can help you best if we can ensure you talk to the right person - pharmacist (questions about medications), dietitian (diet questions) or nurse (all other questions). When necessary, our staff will take your question to your DHOC physician for input as well.
Returning your calls
Many of our clinic staff work part time and our physicians have many other responsibilities outside of clinic. This, along with variable call volumes may sometimes make it challenging to return your call as quickly as we would like. In general, we try to return your calls within 5 business days. If your question or health concern is more urgent, you may need to go to your primary care doctor or the emergency room where the physician who sees you can page the endocrinologist on call if necessary.
Questions from your primary care doctor and re-referrals
Our DHOC physicians and staff are here to support your primary care doctor as they put your management plan into action. We are very willing for your primary care doctor to contact us; we can schedule a formal telephone consultation between your doctor and the DHOC physician if additional advice is needed. We also recognize that sometimes your primary care doctor may want you to be re-assessed in our clinic at a future date. Re-referrals are welcome and depending on complexity, can often be seen relatively soon if a full 60-minute consultation is unnecessary.
In order to ensure that we are working with your primary care provider and with the most up to date information about your health, we must insist upon re-referral from your primary care doctor if you wish to return for an unscheduled clinic visit that was not already arranged by the DHOC team. This usually applies to patients who need a second assessment after an initial visit years earlier.