Beginning April 10, patients calling Riverwood Healthcare Center’s clinics will have a new option for getting a quicker response to questions typically directed to their healthcare practitioners. Some of these requests include getting updated information on immunizations, routine lab orders, or reporting back on the effectiveness of new medications.
The Riverwood appointment line message will give callers two options. Press “1” if you want to schedule an appointment, or “2” if you want to speak with a nurse. A registered nurse will talk with patients about the purpose of their call and determine the action needed. The nurse can answer questions as appropriate and take care of getting a doctor’s approval for an order for standard lab tests. In some cases, the nurse may simply gather information for the patient’s primary care practitioner to return the call. However, in many cases, the need for a patient’s doctor or nurse practitioner to return a patient’s call will be eliminated.
“The goal of this new service is to improve the response time to our patients and give our healthcare practitioners more face-to-face time with patients,” explains Dr. Mark Heggem, Chief Medical Officer for Riverwood. “Our goal continues to be to offer the same personalized care and attention that our patients have come to expect from Riverwood.”
The new telephone nurse service, staffed by registered nurses who are knowledgeable of medical care issues, will be available through all three clinics in Aitkin, Garrison and McGregor Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Even though the Garrison clinic has Saturday hours, the nurse service will not be available at this time.
“In addition, we expect that the new nurse service will free up time for our clinic receptionists to schedule appointments so there should be shorter hold times for callers,” adds Barb Fulton, manager of Riverwood clinics and outpatient services. “Other health systems are tapping nurses to assist healthcare practitioners with patient communication with good success and we are confident that the new service will work very well here too.”
Do not call to use the new nurse telephone service for emergency or urgent care. If you have urgent or emergency medical needs, continue to use Riverwood’s urgent care clinic or emergency room. Riverwood patients who have medical questions and who want to know whether to seek medical care should continue to call the Nurseline at (800) 630-2200, where specially trained nurses can offer information.