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Learn More and Stay Healthy

Staying healthy requires devoting serious attention and following recommendations made by medical professionals. Picking up useful knowledge and information is likewise essential.

Laboratory Testing

Laboratory testing is performed off-site through Calgary Lab Services (CLS). Appointments can be made online at or by telephone at 403-770-5136.

It is strongly advised to book your appointments to avoid long wait times. Laboratory service locations and operating times are listed on the back of the CLS requisition or online.

Some laboratory tests are processed through the provincial laboratory. These tests sometimes have a different requisition; however, they are still collected through Calgary Lab Services.

Most laboratory results are reported back to the physician within 24-48 hours. However, there are exceptions. Microbiology, antibody testing and pap smear results are examples of tests that can take days or weeks for results.

Patients need to know that family physicians are not alerted when results from investigations ordered by another physician are available unless the other physician specifically requests the results to be sent to the family physician's office.

Diagnostic Imaging

There are several diagnostic imaging providers within the Calgary area. A physician will typically supply the patient with a company-specific diagnostic imaging requisition based on his/her individual preference or based on proximity to the patient’s workplace or home. However, these company-specific requisitions are accepted by ANY radiology provider in Calgary.

X-ray imaging is offered on a walk-in basis and can be done at the Cochrane Community Health Centre. However other imaging studies require an appointment outside Cochrane. Much physician-requested diagnostic imaging such as ultrasounds, mammograms and bone scans can be booked directly by the patient.

The booking number for a radiology provider is found at the top of their requisition form, or online at the company website. A list of locations can also be found on the requisition form or the company website.

If a physician feels an urgent ultrasound is necessary, it is best booked through our office. Your physician will arrange this with the front office staff.

More advanced imaging, such as CT or MRI, can only be booked by our office. We will submit a request by fax, and notification of an appointment is usually provided within 1-2 weeks. If you have not heard back regarding an appointment after 2 weeks, please call the office to follow up. Occasionally there can be a failure in communication, so it is recommended that all patients follow-up on their appointment status.

Specialist Referral

In Alberta referral to a specialist must be initiated by a physician. Notification of a referral appointment can take up to 3 weeks, though the actual appointment can sometimes still be several months away. If you have not heard from our clinic or the specialist's office directly within 3 weeks, please call our clinic for an update.

If you feel an appointment with a specialist is no longer needed or you need to change the date of an appointment, please provide the specialist with adequate notification so the appointment time can be used for someone else in need.

Please notify our office if you decide to cancel an appointment with a specialist. Your physician must know that your situation has changed.

Referrals are not required for private pay medical services, such as cosmetic medical treatments.


Recommended vaccinations change over time. Current vaccination recommendations can be found online through Alberta Health at

Information on vaccinations is also available through Health Canada at

Your physicians will discuss recommended vaccinations at your periodic health review appointments, and possibly at other appointments as well.

All individuals should record and store their vaccination history in a safe place. Unfortunately, no provincial or national vaccination history records every vaccination given, so patients must track and record their vaccinations.

All routine childhood vaccinations are administered only through Community Health Centres (sometimes called Public Health Centres). These vaccines are not stocked at the family physician’s office. See Resources - Community Health Centres for more information.

Travel Health

Patients travelling to other countries are encouraged to determine recommended vaccination requirements and medical precautions in advance of their trip.

Recommendations for travellers are specific to the country to which they are travelling, and sometimes even vary between regions within a country. Further info can be found on Consultations for travel health are not covered by Alberta Health, and therefore must be paid for by a patient, no matter which physician provides the care.

Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB)

If you have been injured at work in a field where your employer is required by law to have Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) of Alberta coverage, reporting your injury to the WCB Alberta is mandatory. The costs of all medical services related to a work-related injury are covered by WCB Alberta, and not by the Alberta Health Care plan.

Processing paperwork for WCB-related complaints is extensive and onerous. For both these reasons, we request that all non-WCB medical complaints (simple or complex) be deferred to another appointment. Patients sometimes state that they “do not wish to go through WCB”; this is simply not an option as we are bound by provincial regulations.

Electronic Medical Record and Netcare

Instead of paper charts, many clinics, including ours, use an electronic medical record (EMR). There is more than one type of EMR available, and a clinic chooses the one it feels best suits its needs. At present, individual medical clinics operate independently, and these medical records are not inter-connected.

Alberta Netcare is the name for all the projects related to the provincial Electronic Health Record (EHR), which is a secure and confidential electronic system of Alberta patients' health information. Through Alberta Netcare, health care providers can access most laboratory and diagnostic imaging reports, operative reports, and medication profiles.

Occasionally, specialist consultation reports are also available on Netcare; however, the majority of specialist consultations are delivered via fax directly to the referring physician’s office. Medical records from your family physician’s office, or any other walk-in clinic or specialist clinic you are seen at, are not available through Netcare.

Pediatric Health Examinations (Well Child Check-Up)

Although variable in individual situations, it is recommended that infants and young children be evaluated at the following ages:

  • 1 Week
  • 1 Month
  • 2 Months
  • 4 Months
  • 6 Months
  • 9 Months
  • 12 Months
  • 15 Months
  • 18 Months
  • 2 Years
  • 3 Years
  • 4 Years
  • 5 Years

Beyond 5 years, there are no clear recommendations on how often your child should be assessed for routine evaluation. Generally, this is something that can be discussed with your physician.

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s health outside of the recommended regular check-ups, please do not hesitate to call for an appointment. No concern is too small. We are always happy to provide reassurance if that is what is needed.

Choosing Wisely Canada

Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) is a campaign to help clinicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary tests and treatments and make smart and effective choices to ensure high-quality care.

According to the Choosing Wisely Website, up to 30% of tests, treatments, and procedures in Canada are potentially unnecessary. Unnecessary tests, treatments, and procedures do not add value for patients and potentially expose patients to harm.

Further, they often lead to more testing, which sometimes results in investigating findings that may be clinically meaningless and may never affect a patient during his or her lifetime. This, in turn, may result in unwarranted stress for patients and their families, and the unnecessary consumption of precious time and resources.

Visit for more information

We support the choosing wisely campaign and agree that for a test to be useful it must provide information that is clinically meaningful and potentially helpful in directing care. The core of the Choosing Wisely Campaign is a strong physician-patient relationship that allows for clear communication and open discussion about why a certain investigation is, or sometimes is not, being ordered.

For assistance and information, contact us at Sunset Ridge Medical Clinic in Cochrane, Alberta.

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