FONEMED provides 24/7 and after-hours nurse triage via the telephone to more than 9 million individuals throughout North America. Whether you are a physician, clinic, university, insurer, benefits provider or employer, FONEMED can customize its services to meet your exact needs. FONEMED’s Registered Nurses have an average of 10 years of clinical experience.
When callers in need of medical assistance phone our Medical Call Center, they will first hear a disclaimer stating that if they are experiencing an emergency, they should hang up and call 911. Callers will then have the option of being connected to the audio health library, or speaking immediately with a Registered Nurse. If a caller chooses to speak with a nurse, the nurse will document and discuss the patient’s symptoms and recommend an appropriate course of action. If all nurses are busy when a patient calls, a Health Service Representative (HSR) will take a message and the next available nurse will call that person back. Callers are never put on hold.
With FONEMED’s software, the triage nurse will have at his or her fingertips the patient’s recent call history and the patient’s doctor and coverage information (if applicable). For the actual triage process, the nurse will be using the Schmitt/Thompson medical protocols that will allow her to direct the patient to the appropriate care for his or her situation. This could mean advising the patient to go to the Emergency Room immediately, helping the patient with home care, or recommending an appointment with the appropriate medical provider. In the event a doctor’s visit is suggested, the nurse will tell the patient how soon to see the doctor, and the patient’s call record will be transferred directly to the doctor’s office. FONEMED can also escalate calls to Live Care Clinic physicians when appropriate and when selected as an option by the client.
FONEMED’s nurse advice program will be customized to meet your needs. This can mean “branding” the program, changing the recorded telephone and/or nurse greetings, and even doing other inbound or outbound calling to meet your requirements. We want you to think of our call center as your call center, and will work with you to design a program that will give you all the individuality and functionality of an in-house call center for a fraction of the cost.
FONEMED has listened to the needs of physician practices, and developed a streamlined triage call that will assess your patients’ after-hours medical needs, direct them to the appropriate care and fully document the encounter. This ensures that you remain the primary source of care and health information for your patients, without taking calls after hours yourself. At the end of the day, on weekends, or anytime you need to be away from the office, simply direct your calls to our call center. You can forward calls to our nurses directly, route your calls through your existing answering service or use FONEMED’s integrated Med-Dial™ package, which combines answering services and nurse triage into an integrated package with one monthly bill.
Providing the FONEMED Nurse Advice Line, combined with escalation to physicians, to your members will result in significant cost savings, for the organization paying for that member’s healthcare, for the member’s employer, and for the member himself/herself.
The insurance company, or other group paying for a member’s healthcare, can expect to see savings of $2 to $4 for every dollar invested in a Nurse Advice program. The exact savings depends on program utilization, which in turn is dependent on how actively the program is marketed.
FONEMED asks all callers what they would have done if they had not had access to our Nurse Advice Line, and this is reported back to clients along with what the final recommendation of the Nurse to those individuals. By comparing original inclination and final dispositions, theoretical cost savings can be ascertained. We then work with client organizations to analyze internal data to compute actual cost savings.
For all of our capitated clients from 2007 through 2011, FONEMED’s redirection statistics were as follows (based on callers who indicated an inclination – i.e. not including callers who stated “I don’t know” or declined to state an inclination):
- 41% of callers said that they would have gone to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care Center or called 911. Of these:
- 24% were redirected to scheduled visits at their physicians’ offices.
- 18% were directed to home care.
- 59% of callers said that they would have called or gone to see their physician. Of these:
- 31% were directed to home care.
By redirecting members from Emergency Departments and Physician Visits to Home Care or more appropriately-timed care, members are away from work less often, generating cost savings for employers. Members will have fewer co-pays (based on fewer healthcare visits), and spend less time in unnecessary transit to healthcare facilities.
Employers with an actively-marketed Nurse/Physician Advice programs can also realize decreased employee turnover. Once employees use the nurse line once, they rely on it for answers to all of their healthcare questions, and it becomes a major resource in keeping that employee’s family members healthy.