Patient Communication Policy

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At Arbour Family Medical, we are committed to providing our patients with accessible and quality care that is responsive to their needs. One of the ways in which we strive to do this is by reducing the frustration, inefficiencies, and communication errors associated with communicating via the phone. 

All too often we have heard patients express their frustration regarding difficulty getting through to a receptionist when calling into their doctor’s office, being put on hold for extended periods of time, and leaving voicemail messages that do not get answered. Even more concerning are the instances when medical errors occur or medical care is compromised because of misunderstandings or communication errors over the phone. There are also confidentiality concerns with voicemail, as well as difficulty confirming the identity of individuals over the phone.

We hope to improve the patient experience and streamline the process by which patients communicate with the office, while enhancing the reliability and accuracy of communication. As such, we will be primarily relying upon electronic written communications between patients and the office. What this means is that, depending on the context, the following communication means will be used, as discussed in more detail below:

  • e-mail
  • a secure online appointment scheduling portal
  • secure online forms
Patients who call in may be asked to re-direct their query via the appropriate electronic communication channel.

How The Office Will Contact You

The office will be using a mix of different means to contact you, depending on the sensitivity, importance, and nature of the message. This may include occasional phone calls, e-mails. Notably, we do not plan to send you written letters.

Accordingly, it is your responsibility to ensure that each of the following is up-to-date:

The office will need to know your up-to-date e-mail address, phone number, and mailing address at all times (see Update Your Contact Information).

How You Should Contact Us
Please consult this page for more information.

More Information


Unfortunately, while extremely convenient, e-mail is not technically a secure communication medium. Accordingly, the office will only e-mail you in respect of non-confidential information unless we have your Authorization for Email Communication in respect of your personal health information. For example, we may occasionally send all patients generic e-mail invitations to schedule an appointment for special clinics that we are having (e.g. a flu shot clinic).

We also have a policy to ensure the respectful and effective use of email. Should an individual or group misuse e-mail, for example, by spamming, sending us irrelevant and unnecessary information, etc… we reserve the right to configure our e-mail system to reject messages. In such circumstances, these individuals will be directed to post messages to us by letter mail.

Secure Online Appointment Scheduling Portal

Arbour family Medical uses Ocean, a Canadian online appointment booking software provider, to enable patients to schedule appointments. This system has been integrated with our electronic medical records system so that we can offer an entirely automated online appointment scheduling system. All available appointments can be scheduled and managed online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

More information is available here.

Secure Online Forms

In certain situations, we believe a secure online form is the most effective way for you to communicate with us, such as if you wish to notify us of updated contact information, updated OHIP information, or if you wish to report completion of a blood and/or imaging test.

In such circumstances, we ask that you complete the form as completely as possible, and we will follow-up as appropriate.

Proud Partners of the Guelph Family Health Team.

Arbour Family Medical Centre offers comprehensive health care services for the whole family.

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