In our over 20 years of managing a 24-hour Nurse Advice Line, one thing we’ve learned is there are a variety of reasons why people call in. It ranges from some callers not being sure if their symptoms warrant being seen by a doctor or an emergency department visit to wondering if services are covered by their insurance. Others are worried about disturbing their doctor after hours or just want to understand more about their medications, diagnosis, lab results or treatment options.
We recently analyzed the specific reasons, or symptoms, why people were calling our Nurse Advice Line between April 2021 and March 2022 for our entire book of business. Following are the top five reasons people call our Nurse Advice Line:
Abdominal Pain – The symptoms of abdominal pain can be anything from vomiting to cramps to blood in the stool. Similarly, the causes can vary widely from a virus to food poisoning to an aneurysm, or chronic conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
COVID-19 – As expected, our Nurse Advice Line gets a number of calls from people wondering if their symptoms are COVID-19 or something else and wanting to know what to do.
Respiratory Problems – This too could be COVID-19 and can present as cold-like symptoms to trouble breathing, or could be chronic conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Urinary Problems – From frequent urination to discoloration, pain or burning, urinary problems also run the gamut from easily treated urinary tract infections to serious injuries or signs of more serious or chronic conditions.
Fever or Chills – Fever is a normal reaction to infection or illness and people often wonder if it’s too high or has lasted too long; however, a lower body temperature can be a sign of serious illness.
Providing a 24-hour nurse line to address these types of questions can ensure your members seek an appropriate and cost-effective level of care, take advantage of any plan resources, and better understand and adhere to their treatment plan. Acting as a part of your plan’s care team, our Nurse Advice Line can also increase member satisfaction by providing support and guidance, even after hours. This in turn can help improve Star Ratings for Medicare plans.
In the coming weeks, we will dive deeper into each of these reasons people call our Nurse Advice Line, exploring how our Health Coaches can assist members with these situations and how that benefits both the member and the plan.