August 11, 2020
Cache Valley Hospital today announced the launch of a new telephone medical consultation service now available to the general public, regardless of patient status. Consult-A-Nurse® is geared to help people make better informed decisions about their health and, in many cases, simply give them peace of mind, particularly as a new school year approaches.
Specialty-trained nurses are available 24/7/365 to give clinical guidance, help people understand symptoms, and provide education about treatment options over the phone. Anybody, whether they're a patient or not, can use the service at no charge.
"We're proud to offer this service to the community, especially at a time when so many have health-related questions. A lot of healthcare organizations offer a similar service but with strings attached," said Greg Smith, Cache Valley Hospital Chief Nursing Officer. "It will allow for either peace of mind or next step guidance, regardless of what the situation is. It gives the community and individuals another reliable evidence-based resource to be able to get information and make decisions."
Data from other markets serviced by HCA Healthcare - Cache Valley Hospital's parent company - that have instituted the service show that between 20-25 percent of calls end up needing emergency level care.
A recent Optum Consumer Pulse survey conducted in June shows that 23 percent are still unlikely to go to an ER for a major illness today, including for symptoms of a heart attack or appendicitis. The CDC reported that ER visits declined 42 percent in April compared to the previous year.
"We need to change that paradigm," Smith said. "Hospitals - particularly Utah hospitals - are safe places to receive care, and it's critical that people understand that for the sake of their own health. For those who remain hesitant to seek care in person, this service at least gives them a lifeline and starting point to get the care they need."
While they don't diagnose conditions over the phone, Consult-A-Nurse® providers follow triage protocols to advise callers and provide information on a range of health topics, including children's health, cardiac services, diabetes care, men's and women's health, neurology/stroke, orthopedics, sleep disorders, spine care, among many others.