Nurse-1-1, population health, & health influencers

This morning I got an alert from Google that Nurse-1-1 was mentioned in the news. This one was different than the other alerts I usually get if Nurse-1-1 is in the news. It wasn’t an article I knew about ahead of time, and it wasn’t from a tech publication. It was from “The Link”, a small publication that targets students at Concordia University. The article, titled Sex Ed(itorial): Is My Birth Control Ruining My Life?, focuses on women’s health and references Nurse-1-1 as an expert source of health information. This is big news for anyone focused on population health.

From a population health standpoint, reaching influencers in communities is key. The CDC is always engaging PR firms to help them reach local influencers who can help educate a community about vaccinations, flu prevention, outbreaks of preventable illnesses and other health information that they need help educating communities about. The goal of this article is to reach women on a college campus.

It is no wonder to us that Nurse-1-1 is used to help spread the word on campus. In a recent study by Nurse-1-1’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Igor Shumskiy, he found that people are 5 times more likely to discuss their sexual health concerns on Nurse-1-1 than even with their own doctor’s office advice line. This morning’s article from The Link goes one step further. Not only are nurses on Nurse-1-1 influencing patients, they are helping publications spread important health information to their targeted communities. 

We are now looking at ways to expand this use of Nurse-1-1 for other organizations focused on population health. As any well functioning startup does, once you see something working, and working well, you need to look for ways to scale. We are mission driven here at Nurse-1-1. Enabling nurse influencers to educate their local communities about important healthcare topics makes us happy. This outcome is just one of many ways Nurse-1-1’s network of over 500 Nurse Practitioners across all 50 states can positively impact the health and wellness of Americans. Nurse-1-1 eliminates the uncertainty of the internet search and puts an expert nurse in your living room.

– Michael Sheeley, Co-founder/CEO Nurse-1-1

Treating Transgender Patients

So your patient’s name is Samantha and goes by Sam. They “appear” male but are here for vaginal discharge. There is nothing in the chart about how your patient identifies. There is an elephant in the room… where do you go from here?

Now many of us providers have lots of experience treating transgender, genderqueer and non-binary patients, but many of us have absolutely NONE. The reality is that in many areas of the country these patients have to hide from getting medical care. Patients are scared to be treated badly, and therefore their health suffers.

Fortunately, in many areas of the community, it’s becoming more accepted and more common for transgender/non-binary patients to come to urgent care and their primary care offices for care. BE the provider that keeps those numbers increasing. Don’t prevent healthcare from happening. 

In the recent past and still in many communities, some of these patients would not seek medical help when needed and would become very ill to avoid having to deal with medical professionals that they did not know. They would only see known, “safe” providers who are not always available for urgent care/sick visits. It can be too risky to be seen by someone who may make them feel worse or who may refuse to see them altogether. Not everyone will accept these patients and treat them humanely as they deserve. The health care disparity for transgender patients is real. 

Here at Nurse-1-1 we realized that having only a male and female option was not inclusive enough. We saw the need for care for all humans and realized that we were unintentionally excluding a cohort of patients. After realizing our oversight, we made sure our service included non-binary patients. We added “non-binary” as an option for gender so that all patients would feel welcome to chat with us. We wanted to be sure we were creating a safe space for all patients. 

We want patients to feel comfortable with sharing their health concerns. And we strive to provide the best environment for our nurses to help as many patients as they can.

If you are feeling uncomfortable as the provider, imagine how your patient feels. It’s time to pull your big kid pants on and put aside opinions and biases. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I mean, you aren’t afraid of blood and guts, so this shouldn’t be that much more difficult. Don’t forget we are all human. You may feel strongly that you are a female or male, but your patient may be struggling with that label, especially if they feel like they don’t belong.

Now when I say struggling, I don’t mean they are confused. I mean that they might not fit into the typical label they appear to be and that they were given at birth. Your patient may have a penis but identify and appear to be a female. Don’t assume, ask. Let your patient tell YOU how they identify. 

Don’t guess. Guessing is ignorant. ASK your patient! How would they like to be called? He? She? They? Ask what name they would like to go by. Put it in the chart, make it clear. It doesn’t have to be permanent, these things change. But make it easy. Help out your colleagues, spare your patient from having to explain to each person who enters the room. 

Respect your patient. You don’t have to understand or agree with your patient’s label and identity. You aren’t there for that. You are there to address the issue at hand. This issue is their current illness and symptoms. They are unlikely at the urgent care center today because they want you to help them choose how to dress and act and who they should have sex with. They are here because they have acute symptoms and need your help. 

Your patient in your office is brave and strong. Some patients just can’t bring themselves to come into the office in person, but need medical help. Nurse-1-1’s text based triage service will allow your patients to connect with a health care provider. One of our goals is to be part of the health care solution and decrease disparities. If you feel like we can help you be a part of this, let us know, there are options to help make your clinic one that is accepting of all patients. Make the changes necessary to be that change! 

Next let’s not assume that Sam isn’t sexually active with men. In fact don’t assume anything. Sam’s vaginal discharge and abdominal pain could be due to pregnancy. Don’t assume that Sam, who identifies as male, is only sexually active with women. Gender identity doesn’t specify sexual orientation. Asking questions politely and respectfully will help you give the best care to your patients. 

Your patients who are hesitant to get medical care are at very high risk for health problems and complications. The health disparity they face must be improved. Offer care, encourage well visits and preventative care, be kind, support your fellow human. YOU might make the difference in their life. Offer them a safe place to come for health issues and concerns. Read up on how you can help these patients feel respected and cared for. Come out of your comfort zone. Keep them coming back to your clinic. Keep making improvements in healthcare and in the lives of others. We owe this to humanity. Be a provider who directly but respectfully addresses gender identify, and help improve health care disparities. 

Nurse-1-1 is Creating a Safe Space & Breaking Down Health Disparities

Author: Igor Shumskiy, MD

Why are patients 5 times more likely to discuss their sexual and gender-related health concerns on Nurse-1-1 than on a typical telephone triage call with their doctor’s office? Read on to get my analysis, but more importantly, the reasoning behind why providers, payers, and public health departments should care about this stat. 

First off, what is Nurse-1-1? Nurse-1-1 is the digital doorway to healthcare for the billions of worried patients searching online for information about their health concerns every day. Through personalized, live, text-based nurse chats, patients receive trusted health information so they can make better decisions about their health. 

Sensitive health concerns are common

We often hear, “this is fascinating… what types of health questions do people have???” Turns out that 22% of all health concerns on Nurse-1-1 are related to women’s health, men’s health, teen health, or sexual health. Seems like a reasonable percentage for such common issues, right? 

According to the American College of Physicians – American Society of Internal Medicine report on Telephone Triage, the highest women’s health, men’s health, or sexual health related concern was difficult urination for women, at 2.3%. The next highest was vaginal discharge, at 1.4%. The report doesn’t share further topic breakdowns below 1.4%, however, I’m going to safely assume that the total sum of these types of questions is around 5% of all calls. 

A combined 22% vs 5%. Umm, huh? This means that more than 1 out of every 5 patients on Nurse-1-1 are asking about women’s health, men’s health, or sexual health. While 1 out of every 25 are doing the same with traditional phone triage at their provider’s office. That’s 5 times more on Nurse-1-1 than a typical nurse triage line.😳😳😳

Why this huge difference? And, does it matter?

Well, in my opinion, this matters a whole heck of a lot. Just because traditional primary care nurse hotlines are not getting called about sexual health concerns doesn’t mean these concerns don’t exist. There are many reasons why patients may not want to call and talk to a nurse over the phone about these types of questions. For starters, it can be embarrassing! Usually these are the types of questions that patients feel they must first lie about to the phone scheduler, saying “it’s just a cold” rather than what it truly is, and then having to whisper about it shyly in front of the nurse or doctor.🙈

Furthermore, a lot of people may not even have a trusted provider they feel comfortable enough discussing these types of topics with. This leaves a huge unmet health need with problematic downstream consequences. Miscommunicating the real concern over the phone may lead to delays in care or recommendations for the wrong level of care, potentially leading to higher costs and missed PCP office visits when needed. 

Advantages of text chat for triage

So why is it that people more readily come to Nurse-1-1 with these types of concerns? First, you can safely and privately message our nurses from anywhere! No need to wait until you get home, walk into your bathroom, lock the door, close the window, and make sure that no one is listening before you even think about making the call.🤣😂 Hey, we’ve all been there! Unlike phone calls, no one will know what you are typing even in the most crowded of places (re: 🚃🚎🏢). Also, patients have a sense of anonymity on Nurse-1-1 — we only ask for a first name, an email, an age range, and a gender. As the patient becomes more comfortable with the nurse in the chat, they feel empowered and in control, allowing them to provide more information. 

Probably the biggest reason that breaks down barriers… the way Nurse-1-1 has implemented text messaging. A 2012 study out of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan suggested people are more likely to disclose sensitive information via text than they are over the phone. This is right in line with our experience on Nurse-1-1, texting a trusted nurse, on your terms, creates a safe space unlike any other. It doesn’t hurt that our national network of nurses are highly experienced and carefully selected based on their ability to communicate compassionately through live text chat. 

Why should providers and health plans like you care if patients share sensitive concerns associated with sexual and gender-related health on Nurse-1-1? 

How text chat triage benefits population health

If you are a provider, payer, or a mix of the two, chances are your patients’ sexual health concerns are not being met. As a payer, you are risking your patients postponing care and creating higher healthcare costs down the road (think unnecessary ED visits 😕 for difficulty urinating, pregnancy tests, or erectile dysfunction). As a provider, you may be missing crucial patient traffic that is instead visiting your competing locations since they didn’t have the right outlet to ask you about their personal concern. When is the last time you considered the way your patients step into your virtual doors? It might be time to innovate your offering and reach your patients on a more 21st century level. 

If you’re part of a population health management team, whether as a payer, provider, or public health department, then we need to talk! This discrepancy above clearly shows Nurse-1-1 can have large scale impact on a public health level potentially never seen before. We are already serving thousands of patients across the country who are turning to us for their sensitive questions! Let’s find a way to work together and narrow crucial health disparities by building a network patients never have to feel embarrassed about contacting! 

Learn more at nurse-1-1.com and reach out to us below!

CirrusMD vs. Nurse-1-1 | Product Comparison

Overview

Choosing a virtual care solution is a critical decision for health plans. While there are many options out there, in this article we’ll help you understand the difference between CirrusMD and Nurse-1-1.  A quick summary—you probably can’t go wrong with either option. Both CirrusMD and Nurse-1-1 are focused on offering health plan members a seamless virtual care solution that empowers them to make better healthcare decisions. Let’s first focus on what they both offer.

Chat-first approach

Both CirrusMD and Nurse-1-1 offer virtual care experiences with easy, chat-first services. Texting allows your members to access care wherever they are, without having to find a private place to make a call or to be presentable enough to have a video chat on camera. Text also allows members to send photos that can’t be sent over the phone or may be hard to share on a video chat. 

Chat is asynchronous in its form of communication. It allows both your members and the provider to share information after thinking about it longer than one would while in a phone call or video call. Pauses in text-based chat are expected, while pausing and thinking about an answer on a phone or video call can create an awkward silence that leaves your members questioning the information they are being given.  

Personal touch with live healthcare professionals

Both CirrusMD and Nurse-1-1 connect people to a healthcare provider in seconds with secure and HIPAA-compliant websites and apps. 

Allowing people to live chat with a healthcare professional creates a real conversation that influences proper decision making. While bots typically end with a few recommendations for your members, both CirrusMD and Nurse-1-1 will continue the conversation until there is reassurance and an understanding in the recommendation that is given. This requires empathy, compassion, trust, and influence that only a live experienced healthcare professional can bring. 

Built-in Provider Networks

Both CirrusMD and Nurse-1-1 offer their own networks of expert providers who can chat with your members if you do not have the capacity or the providers available to support your virtual care solution. Both CirusMD and Nurse-1-1 are also both flexible to also allow you to integrate with your own provider network or call center if that is preferred. 

ED Diversions

Studies have shown that up to 71% of ED visits are unnecessary, avoidable. One study showed that nurses at telephone triage call centers prevented 2 out of every 3 ER visits or 1 ER visit out of 7 calls. Another study reported a cost reduction of £4,520,000 (USD $5,571,962) from reduced ambulance dispatch. And yet another study reported a 38% reduction in primary care appointments and a 23% reduction in home visits

Furthermore, another study reported a reduction in workload of 54% compared with the previous 3 months and that nurses were able to handle 26% of requests for GP appointments by telephone, whereas another study reported a 39% reduction in demand 

The data strongly supports the use of nurses and advice lines to help patients make proper use of a healthcare service that ultimately reduces costs drastically. 

Improved access to care

Both CirrusMD and Nurse-1-1 allow your members to chat without making appointments. Your members are connected 24/7 whenever they have a question or are making an important healthcare decision. 

With no appointments necessary and no need to find a private place to talk, care can truly happen from anywhere. When conversation isn’t time bound, your members share information and providers ask questions more completely, delivering more confident diagnoses and care guidance.

With both CirrusMD and Nurse-1-1, your members do not pay for the service. CirrusMD and Nurse-1-1 are cost-free solutions for your members. The cost is handled by the entity offering the solution (like an employer group, health plan, university, community health program, etc.) And these groups find it to be cost effective vs. the alternatives. Compared to other telemedicine solutions, this approach is almost completely unheard of in this industry. 

A few ways CirrusMD and Nurse-1-1 may differ in their approach

Integration with existing Urgent Care, Primary Care, and Hospital Systems

Nurse-1-1 has partnerships with urgent care clinics and primary care, and is working with hospital systems to leverage its platform. The industry trend is for payers and providers to work together to offer the proper value to members and patients. Nurse-1-1 recognizes this strategy and has created a platform that works with both types of entities. Providers use Nurse-1-1 to provide patients with an improved experience and keep patients in-network and out of emergency rooms when it isn’t necessary.  

By offering its service to both providers and payers, Nurse-1-1 ensures all parties who share the cost burden to offer care to members and work together in an integrated solution. 

Starting with a Google Search

Patients start their journey with a Google search. Google receives more than 1 billion health questions every day. Yeah, ONE BILLION with a “B”.  That is 70,000 each minute! These are your members who turn first to Google and sites like WebMD. These searches that increase anxiety. Nurse-1-1 offers a solution to intervene at this stage, and influence patients away from making irrational and expensive healthcare decisions.   

You need to be where your patients are as they start their illness journeys. Being present as early as possible in this journey allows you to foster these relationships and exert the most influence in their decision-making process. Nurse-1-1 actively conducts local outreach campaigns to target nearby patients as they search for answers. The offer to simply “chat with a nurse” for free, is a low-friction no brainer for them. We frequently engage your members at the moment they need you the most. Our smart routing can then filter and route the appropriate patients and concerns to nurses who can help. 

Price

Text-based approaches allow this level of care to scale, as it fits perfectly into most providers’ workflows. Nurse-1-1’s approach of providing health information without the overhead of telemedicine services allows its service to operate at a fraction of the price of other platforms. Nurse-1-1 is FREE to your members. The cost to your organization is only $12.50 per member chat session. Many third party call centers charge $20 to $30, and most telemedicine services charge $40 to $100 for a video consultation, while still charging the patient an additional fee. Nurse-1-1’s $12.50 price point is a much better deal, while offering the exact service your organization and members need.

We are always interested in talking to progressive organizations about how we can help improve member experience while also cutting costs.  If this sounds interesting, please reach out.  We’d love to tell you more!  

Nurse-1-1’s Community Health Initiative: why we don’t charge Federally Qualified Health Centers

$0. That’s right. Zero. Nothing.

That’s what our Community Health Center partners pay for the unlimited use of Nurse-1-1’s smart routing digital triage platform. 😍

Why We Love Community Health Centers 

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), also known as Community-based Health Centers (CHC), offer access to comprehensive healthcare services for all children and adults regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. CHCs are now a national model of delivering high-level healthcare to all within America, however, the movement started in Nurse-1-1’s hometown, Boston, back in the 1960s. The country’s first CHC was located in the basement of one of Boston’s low-income housing projects during a time where low-income families often went without comprehensive healthcare. 

Why did we make this commitment? This was a simple choice for us at Nurse-1-1. We strive to provide everyone with access to a trusted nurse regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.👩🏾‍⚕️👨🏼‍⚕️ We believe all people should feel like a medical professional is just a quick text away, 24/7, as if they were messaging a member of the family. Instead, many people are currently forced to turn to Google or the ER for basic health information.🙄 CHCs are the perfect home for Nurse-1-1 given they lower the barrier to accessing comprehensive and preventative care for underserved families. Plus, the emphasis on wellness and community is exactly what we care about.❤️We want nothing more than to save families from an unnecessary trip to the ER and instead help them remain home, in their communities, doing the activities that matter most. 

CHCs + Nurse-1-1 redefines access to care for the right patient at the right time. 

Underserved Families Face Many Challenges, Especially Healthcare Access

Underserved families face challenging demands from all angles. Whether it comes to steady employment, bills, decent housing, discrimination, finding childcare, food insecurity, or reasonable transportation, there’s plenty to be stressed about. As first described by Melody Goodman at a Harvard School of Public Health talk, “Your zip code is a better predictor of your health than your genetic code.” Meaning where you live can affect your health way more than your family’s DNA. That’s part of the magic of CHCs!🚀 They go above and beyond by providing a whole host of wellness services and resources so families can also get help with these environmental stressors of health. 

These families are asked to jump through a lot of hoops, communicating with their care team shouldn’t be one of them. CHCs are often resource constrained, making it challenging to provide on-demand communication options like we see more and more from concierge primary care providers like One Medical. However, we believe that, more than anyone else, underserved families deserve the royal treatment when it comes to accessing trusted health information. Healthcare should at least be the one place where these families have it easy; whether it be calling the nurse triage line, asking for prescription refills, or scheduling an appointment. 

FQHCs With Nurse-1-1 Creates a Great Experience That Lowers Costs

This is where Nurse-1-1’s live text-based chat platform comes in. Through our smart routing technology and easy-to-use, HIPAA-compliant software, FQHC patients can quickly connect with the right person on their care team for trusted advice. By quickly, we mean within a minute! No more unnecessary ER visits, no more untrusted Google searches, no more fear and anxiety. Best of all, it’s absolutely free to the care teams on the ground doing the hard work and changing lives. No more giving out personal cell phone numbers, sending messages that aren’t HIPAA-compliant, playing phone tag, or having to rummage through tons of voicemails. 

Improved communication, lower healthcare costs, happier families, what’s not to like? We can’t think of anything, either, which is why we started this initiative! 

If you work for a CHC and would like to learn more about our program, requirements to qualify, and the real benefits you can bring to your patients, please contact us.  

Launch of Nurse-1-1’s Follow-up & Engagement services

This week we launched our new follow-up and engagement services on Nurse-1-1. We are always listening to patients to find ways to help them make better decisions. This is why we built this new follow-up and engagement service. 

Follow-up

Immediately after a chat is completed, we email the patient with nearby clinics that they can choose from. We see that oftentimes, patients do not instantly make a decision about where to seek medical care during a chat with a nurse. Instead, they can now make a decision later with all the relevant details. This email contains nearby clinic options that fit patient needs, so they have it available when they do decide to go in.  

Patients also receive a follow-up email a few days after chatting with a nurse. A University of Pennsylvania Medicine study showed that over half of the people who used Google search in the week leading up to an emergency room visit searched specifically about their main health concern that brought them there. Our experience confirms this finding. Patients take time to make decisions about their healthcare needs – even the urgent ones. This is why we continue supporting patients after each interaction with a nurse by following up and offering continued engagement and support. 

We check in with patients after their chat to ensure they saw their primary care provider or help them find a nearby provider in instances when they still need care. This is often better than the alternative of returning to Google or WebMD to try finding answers days later when they aren’t feeling better. 

No insurance? No problem, we can help. We’ve built Nurse-1-1 to support patients through their acute issue, helping them properly engage with the healthcare system in a way that’s best for them. This is the real power of Nurse-1-1’s engagement and follow-up abilities. 

Engagement & Local Brand Awareness

Patients using Nurse-1-1 are an engaged audience seeking information from the most trusted profession, nurses. These patients are turning to nurses, whom they trust. By associating an urgent care or primary care provider’s brand with these chats, patients naturally turn to these clinics as a trusted source for care as well. Thanks to partnerships with these urgent care and PCP locations, local and regional patients can access Nurse-1-1 chats for free. We believe this is such a crucial service that we want patients to know which partnerships are behind it! 

That is why, on Nurse-1-1, when patients chat with nurses they will now see the brands of the participating clinics and other local healthcare options as they make critical healthcare decisions. This is the perfect way for healthcare organizations to gain awareness and trust with local communities they care about. 

As we continue to learn more about how patients make healthcare decisions, we’ll be adding more services and revising our current offerings. Stay tuned! 

One Medical’s Messages App vs. Nurse-1-1 | Product Comparison

Overview

Healthcare companies from providers to payers are quickly figuring out that having the right mix of virtual care and in-clinic care can help their business in a number of ways. Many new entrants into the market, such as One Medical, focus on becoming fully verticalized providers, blending in-clinic care with virtual services. Services such as One Medical’s Messages allow patients to chat with healthcare professionals to help decide whether to see a doctor or stay home. This powerful service allows patients to make better healthcare decisions with an improved patient experience.

Unfortunately, many other providers don’t offer services like this to patients. These providers lose out on keeping their patients engaged and end up seeing patients turn to other providers and urgent care clinics that offer similar services. So while those who can afford it benefit from better service through innovation and technology, the vast majority of Americans are stuck with the same access problems that have existed for years. 

But wait… there is an alternative. Healthcare providers can leverage services like Nurse-1-1 to keep up with the services being provided by One Medical, and help patients stay loyal.

Chat-first approach

Both One Medical’s Messages App and Nurse-1-1 offer text-based experiences 24/7 with an easy to use app or website. Both services allow your patients to access care wherever they are, without having to find a private place to make a call or to be presentable enough to have a video chat on camera. Text also allows members to send photos that can’t be sent over the phone or may be hard to share on a video chat. 

Chat is asynchronous in its form of communication. It allows both your patients and the provider to share information after thinking about it longer than one would while on a phone call or video call. Pauses in text-based chat are expected, while pausing and thinking about an answer on a phone or video call can create an awkward silence that leaves your patients questioning the information they are being given.  

Personal touch with healthcare professionals

Both One Medical’s Messages App and Nurse-1-1 connect people to a healthcare provider with secure and HIPAA-compliant websites and apps. 

Allowing people to chat with a healthcare professional creates a real conversation that influences proper decision making. While bots typically end with a few recommendations for your patients, both One Medical’s Messages App and Nurse-1-1 will continue the conversation until there is reassurance and an understanding of the recommendation that is given. This requires empathy, compassion, trust, and influence that only a live, experienced healthcare professional can bring.

Increasing clinic traffic when appropriate

Both One Medical’s Messages App and Nurse-1-1 refer patients with urgent or time-sensitive medical issues to contact a physical clinic, or as One Medical states, “call your One Medical office for those.” Understanding the limitations of these services is a benefit that helps patients get the proper care they need while ensuring that these patients make the choice to visit your clinic when appropriate. 

A few ways One Medical’s Messages App and Nurse-1-1 may differ in their approach

Integration with existing Urgent Care, Primary Care, and Hospital Systems

Nurse-1-1 has partnerships with urgent care clinics and primary care, and is working with hospital systems to leverage its platform. These partnership options provide patients with a choice to get the best care that is available to them. The industry trend is for payers and providers to work together to offer the proper value to patients. Nurse-1-1 recognizes this strategy and has created a platform that works with all types of health entities. Any provider who joins Nurse-1-1 is adding their services as an option for patients to utilize. 

Starting with a Google Search

Patients start their journey with a Google search. Google receives more than 1 billion health questions every day. Yeah, ONE BILLION with a “B”.  That is 70,000 each minute! These are your members who turn first to Google and sites like WebMD. These are searches that heavily increase anxiety. Nurse-1-1 offers a solution to intervene at this stage, and influence patients away from making irrational and expensive healthcare decisions such as visiting an emergency room when it isn’t appropriate.   

You need to be where your patients are as they start their illness journeys. Being present as early as possible in this journey allows you to foster these relationships and exert the most influence in the patient decision-making process. Nurse-1-1 actively conducts local outreach campaigns to target patients who are nearby your clinic as they search for answers online. The offer to simply “chat with a nurse” for free, is a low-friction, no brainer for them. We frequently engage patients at the moment they need you the most. Our smart routing can then filter and route the appropriate patients and concerns to nurses who can help. 

Price

Text-based approaches allow this level of care to scale, as it fits perfectly into most clinics’ existing workflows. Nurse-1-1’s approach to provide health information without the overhead of telemedicine services allows its offering to operate at a fraction of the price of other platforms. Nurse-1-1 is FREE to patients. The cost to urgent care clinics and PCPs is only $800 a month. This price includes unlimited chats between your staff and patients, use of Nurse-1-1’s network of over 500 nurses to answer chats, our digital outreach campaigns to target nearby patients as they search for answers, Nurse-1-1’s follow-up & engagement services, and other features discussed on our product offerings page. 

We are always interested in talking to providers who say “We want what One Medical has” and want to learn more about how to grow their practices by creating true patient loyalty. If this sounds interesting, please reach out.  We’d love to tell you more!

Why Payers Should Add a Digital Nurse Hotline Experience for their Members

Dr. Igor Shumskiy

I’ve had a sore throat for a few days and I thought, what the hell, why don’t I use my insurance’s 24-hour nurse hotline. Maybe they can offer guidance on whether I need to seek in-person care and where this care might actually be covered. Out-of-pocket costs? 😣 No thanks! 🤣

Most patients have already done a thorough Dr. Google search before this call would ever take place. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the data. This means they’ve scared themselves into thinking they have something severe and scary. Put yourself into your members’ shoes…you’re sick, your PCP might be booked for days (if you took the trouble to call and check), and now Dr. Google says you have cancer. 😳😳😳 Ok, cue the nurse hotline call. Here are the steps I had to take to get a nurse on the phone:

  1. I went to my health insurance company’s website.
  2. I attempted to log-in and failed. 🤬🤬🤬
  3. I created a brand new login and password, verified it with my e-mail, and logged in again. 
  4. I maneuvered to the home page and found the 24/7 nurse hotline number.
  5. After a few prompts and menus, I re-entered my member ID. 

Finally, a real live nurse. All this probably took 10 minutes, which, one might argue, isn’t terrible. The nurse was pleasant and helpful, suggested I see my primary care provider in the next few days. When I explained it’s almost impossible to be seen so quickly, he suggested a few nearby urgent care locations and gave me the phone number to the nearest one.

As good as healthcare could be, right? Wrong. 

Accessing Healthcare— the Current Process is Lacking

First, I’m a millennial and reasonably tech-savvy. Additionally, I have high health literacy (at least I’d like to think so as an MD 🤷🏾‍♂️). Many of your high-risk, high-utilizing members are likely to have significant trouble figuring out the steps above quickly given the psychological stress associated with their condition(s). They need more engaging, easy-to-use communication tools. When trying to combat the likes of WebMD, a webpage that is incredibly easy to read and access (it’s the first non-paid link on a google search of sore throat), you need something just as powerful. With a digital nurse hotline option, your patients could be text-message-chatting with a live nurse directly on your homepage within a minute (just think about the “chat now” feature on any other industry’s webpage). 

Second, why rely on the nurse to look up the nearest urgent care and give me the phone number to call? This is inefficient for the nurse and painful for your members. Unfortunately, in our rushed society phone calls have become an antiquated medium when it comes to booking an appointment (and all things really). Last thing you want is your member having issues connecting via a call (or foregoing it altogether) and instead just heading to the nearest ER they know well. 

With a few clicks through WebMD’s page on sore throat I’m already seeing ads everywhere that direct me to the advertiser’s care options. Can you compete with that? Better hope those providers are in-network. By digitizing your nurse hotline experience the system can easily offer patients nearby urgent care options that are in-network and provide direct links to scheduling pages. 

Third, photos! The nurse I spoke with asked me to look in the back of my mouth and check for white or yellow spots. Sure, I can do that. But, again, I’m quite health literate. Instead, why not tell the member to take a photo of the concern at hand and send it along for the nurse to see. What? You can’t do that via phone triage? Well, you can via digital text chat. 

Digital Nurse Hotlines— a Better Alternative

Nurse-1-1, a HIPAA-compliant text chat experience, was founded to help solve these problems and create the following experience.  

Just imagine, your member Stacy goes to your homepage with fever and sore throat. Within seconds, Stacy is chatting with a nurse on the homepage digital text chat option. She is told that urgent care is a great option based on her symptoms, especially if she can’t get in to see her PCP within the next few days. A link is provided to the nearest urgent care options in her area that are in-network. She chooses the one she feels is best and is instantly taken to that urgent care’s booking page. Stacy now has an urgent care appointment in a few hours and her concern is no longer a concern, just a minor illness. Since everything is digital, she can even text chat quickly with a non-clinical representative about her out-of-pocket costs or copays associated with this urgent care visit. 

Now we are talking! Hey WebMD, eat your heart out. 😂😂😂Don’t your members, especially the high-risk ones, deserve better? Learn more about how Nurse-1-1 can help you digitize your 24-hour nurse hotline quickly, easily, and to your nurses’ delight! Oh, did I mention our system is HIPAA compliant! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

Artificial Intelligence in Nursing

So, you’re a nurse. Let’s say you work on a busy, adult med/surg floor and your manager tells everyone at the next staff meeting that management is going to make some changes. They’re hiring new staff – that’s good, right? Everyone agrees that’s great! Well, these aren’t your typical ‘new hires.’ The new staff member is named Moxi. And Moxi, is a robot.

 If you’re like me, my nursey senses said ‘gah! absolutely not!’ How can a robot integrate into a busy medical environment? It’s a fast paced environment that requires critical thinking skills along with finely tuned communication and people skills. This isn’t the time or place to conduct some kind of “Jetsons” experiment!

But let’s get real, there‘s a nationwide shortage of nurses and it’s not getting better anytime soon. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.”  This is scary. How is health care supposed to keep up, and how are nurses going to be expected to adapt? Well, it turns out that a few hospitals in Texas have taken the leap into the future…and they love it.

Moxi was designed and built by a company called Diligent Robotics, and Moxi’s tasks are to lighten the load of nursing staff. Moxi takes care of the approximate 30% of tasks that don’t require interacting with patients, like running errands or taking specimens to the lab. 

According to Andrea Thomaz, CEO of Diligent Robotics, in an interview with FastCompany, “we’re helping them augment their staff…everyone is trying to make the nurses they have go further.” Moxi is programmed into the hospital’s electronic health record system, so when a nurse charts anything that leads to a task like lab draws or patient discharge, Moxi can pick up that chore immediately. According to Thomaz in the FastCompany interview, “Moxi supports clinical staff by augmenting logistical tasks that limit valuable patient care time.” This kind of system means that nurses don’t actually have to tell Moxi what to do – Moxi just knows. Amazing, right?

Well, it took several years to get Moxi to the point where she was ready to work independently within the hospital. And while Moxi’s job is to relieve the nursing staff of as many mundane tasks as possible, staff and patients alike are finding that Moxi brings some new energy to the ward. Apparently patients take selfies with Moxi, and one pediatric patient wrote the team at Diligent Robotics asking where Moxi lived. This prompted the design team to program Moxi with features that made her more social; once an hour she wanders the floor flashing heart eyes at people and takes a “social lap” to talk to her fans. I mean, come on. That’s adorable.

So when does Moxi start? Well, slow and steady steps mean that Moxi is going to be working within three or four hospitals in Texas later this year. Moxi’s team envisions that robots will be designed to augment, rather than replace, human workers. Think about it, 30-50% of your day could be freed up to spend time with your patients and address the responsibilities that brought us into health care in the first place. Will there be downsides? Sure! But we’re creative types, we’re innovators too. And if having Moxi on my team means I’ll get heart eyes throughout the day, I’ll welcome her with open arms.

This is the kind of nursing and health care innovation that gets our team at Nurse-1-1 fired up.  Our passionate team of nurses help people navigate to the right level of care. We enable people to chat with our nurses to get answers to health questions. 

We take people away from Google, where they often worry themselves needlessly. We help them find the proper level of care for their situation, whether that’s urgent care, contacting their primary care provider, or just staying home.  

If you’re a nurse and your clinic or health plan could benefit from innovation like this, we’d love to talk!  Just let us know below and we’ll get back to you shortly.  

–Meri Clare, BSN, CCRN

Why don’t Nurse-1-1 nurses diagnose, prescribe, or even give medical advice?

This is probably the #1 question we get when we talk to others in the healthcare industry about Nurse-1-1. Most of our nurses are actually Nurse Practitioners, and all have a minimum of 5 years of experience in emergency care, urgent care, primary care, or triage. We have NPs who are licensed in all 50 states. So why don’t we fully utilize this capability to offer diagnosis, prescriptions, or even become a nurse advice line?  

Our goal is to provide patients with information to make an informed decision about where they should turn for care. We don’t provide care. We leave this to their provider or a local clinic who can. Healthcare should be local, and the industry must play a role in creating a strong patient-provider relationship. Let’s now dive into why our digital health company is still holding on to this premise. It comes down to two reasons: 

1) This is what most patients want. 

2) It’s been proven this is what most patients need.

Before we started Nurse-1-1 we spent two years researching the market and truly understanding why patients turn to a Google search for their health information (rather than asking their providers). 7% of all search traffic is from people searching for health information. We needed to understand what it was they were searching for and what alternatives they would turn to instead of content plays like WebMD.  A few things stood out in our research:

  1. There are 3x more searches that include the keyword “nurse” in a health related search query than “doctor”
  2. 5x more patients would sign up for our “coming soon” digital service when we said it offered “information,” instead of offering “prescriptions” or “diagnosis.” 

Decision making is where patients start their journey

Before patients trust any provider and want to be treated, they first gather up enough information for themselves. WebMD has never prescribed a single drug, yet millions of people turn to it every day. Patients want information first because decision making is where they start their journeys. “I wanted to check before I went to the local emergency room” was a common response when we interviewed patients. Other responses from patients were along the lines of, “I already have a doctor, I just needed to ask a nurse if I should call my doctor.” and “I’d rather go to a local urgent care clinic than use a video visit service for a prescription.” Never once did patients say they were looking for a diagnosis or a prescription. Never.

The start of a patient’s journey is also where they can be most influenced. 

What we discovered at Nurse-1-1 during our research is just how influential nurses can be if they simply make themselves available to patients to provide this information. The web is full of misinformation and scary healthcare stories that can send any patient into a full blown panic. Intervening with a live nurse during this stage is critical to ensure patients make the best decision about where to turn to for care. Many times, these are longer stories that require a deep understanding of the patient. Offering a one time video visit consultation won’t help the patient. Healthcare is a constantly evolving journey for patients, which leads me to my last point.

Local care, and why PCPs still matter. 

The PCP is not dead, but it needs to meet patients where they are in today’s world. It doesn’t take a trained Nurse Practitioner on Nurse-1-1 long before they know where the patient should turn to for care. However, when asked, over half of the patients we see indicate to our nurses that they do not have a primary care provider. Urgent Care, retail pharmacy, and primary care offices play an important role in our handoffs. Telling a patient they should talk to a provider isn’t enough. We learned that there are two more things we must do:  

1) provide local options for patients to turn to

2) follow up over the coming days to make sure we keep the patient engaged and aware of the best care options for them (rather than just turning to the ER as the easiest, most familiar option) 

Our nurses connect patients to the best site of care for them— local urgent care, primary care, and even the ER if necessary. The difference between an ER, an urgent care clinic, or a PCP is confusing to most. Our nurses help explain these options. Patients can take up to a week to decide where to be seen, so we make sure to follow up in the days after a chat with a nurse. Making sure the patient remembers and sees which local providers they can turn to for care is critical. WebMD is just a click away. We aim to make sure that local care, urgent care, and PCPs are just as accessible for patients. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Nurse-1-1’s network of nurses can make your primary care accessible to more patients, request a demo below.