The Rapid Access Clinic gets you on the right treatment path faster.
The Rapid Access Clinic (RAC), formerly known as the Regional Joint Assessment Centre (RJAC), is part of the Regional Orthopaedic Program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Rapid Access Clinics are expanding across Ontario to help people with musculoskeletal conditions access care. Our RAC services all of Northwestern Ontario through a central intake system. This allows for one point of contact for primary care to assist with ease of referral. At this time, we are able to assess hip, knee, shoulder and low back pain.
You and your primary care provider may consider a referral to the RAC if you have been experiencing ongoing pain in one of these areas that is not responding to non-surgical treatments or may require surgical consultation. Your provider will arrange for you to have the appropriate imaging (usually an x-ray) completed prior to a referral being made and submit a referral form that will be sent to the RAC.
Once received by the clinic, a specially trained clinician will triage your referral based on the information provided with your referral. Wait times for appointment will depend on the triage of your referral. The different joint pathways may have different wait times to consultation. Wait times may fluctuate depending on volume of referrals. We typically recommend you have trialed some management prior to a RAC referral as often this is the first line treatment for musculoskeletal concerns. The purpose of a RAC referral is to provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your musculoskeletal problem, education regarding your findings, to provide you with treatment recommendations and facilitate referral to an orthopaedic surgeon if appropriate.
The Rapid Access Clinic is located Suite 101- 984 Oliver Road, in the Medical Building directly adjacent to the main Hospital. Depending on your individual case, occasionally you may be seen through a dual clinic with the advanced practice clinician and surgeon in the surgeon’s office. In addition to our location in Thunder Bay, there are specialty clinics held at regional sites in Dryden, Kenora, and Fort Frances. Please visit our contact page for location contact information. Not all joints are assessed at every clinic (see below).
If your referral indicates your preference is to be assessed at a specific site your referral will be directed to that clinic if possible. If no preference is indicated, your referral may be directed to the site closest to you. At the regional sites you may be assessed by an advanced practice clinician or an orthopaedic surgeon for your initial visit.
If appropriate, for your initial consult you may be offered an appointment via telemedicine or video if you live outside of Thunder Bay. Some patients prefer this if it is an option to limit travel. You are never obligated to be seen via video if your preference is in person.