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.

Care Management– 21st Century Population Health Must Incorporate Google

By: Dr. Igor Shumskiy

In the 21st century, any successful population health management strategy must employ Google as a vital tool in its offering. Sure, this might sound a bit counterintuitive; Google is a place where health misinformation flows freely. But, has healthcare realized that 7% of all Google searches are health-related? That’s 1 billion health questions googled every day! 😳😬

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts it, “population health brings significant health concerns into focus and addresses ways that resources can be allocated to overcome the problems that drive poor health conditions in the population.” 

Patients searching the web for answers are often underinsured, uninsured, or well aware it will take weeks to get in with their primary care provider. This is a terrible set up for delayed presentations to care and unnecessary ER visits. Both of these drive worsening health outcomes. 

How Google Impacts Care Management and Population Health

This relatively recent shift to Google for primary health advice should be a major concern for every pop. health team. Don’t think your members are searching Google before they hit your emergency department (or even worse, an out-of-network ED) and rack up a high bill? Think again. A Penn Medicine study discovered that more than half of patients presenting to the ED/ER had searched Google about their chief complaint throughout the week prior to presentation. I take that to mean:

  1. These are less likely to be emergencies 😂
  2. There was ample time to intervene and prevent this visit! 

Looking for a patient-centered way to reduce costs and stretch your population health resources? I can’t think of a better way than Google to quickly reach millions of your members across the country, or the thousands of patients in your local network. If you’re not finding ways to intervene during this crucial first step of your patients’ journey, you aren’t at the top of their minds.

Population Health Requires Partnerships

The CDC also views population health as a customizable approach that utilizes “non-traditional partnerships among different sectors of the community – public health, industry, academia, health care, local government entities, etc. – to achieve positive health outcomes.” 

Basically, it takes a village. 

Can we collaborate across sectors to funnel high-risk patients away from untrusted and unvetted online health info to a more professional digital location? We believe so, which is why we built Nurse-1-1. Imagine if every one of your high-risk patients felt like they had a close friend or family member who was in healthcare and was just a text away, 24/7. 

A Customized Approach to Care Management

A customizable approach is what high-risk patients need to stay engaged, healthy, and out of the ER. That’s why Nurse-1-1 intervenes at the moment that patients are about to scare themselves on Google. We connect these anxious and concerned patients with the most trusted health professional, a nurse, for a low-friction, HIPAA-compliant text messaging conversation. Nurses are great at bringing “significant health concerns into focus,” providing patients empathy, and influencing them to seek the appropriate level of care. 

Which option does your pop. health team want your high-risk patients using? 

  1.  A Google search as a primary mode of health information, just like the other millions of people running searches today, or
  2. An experienced, knowledgeable nurse or mid-level provider offering empathy, reassurance, and guidance

Next time you’re considering the best ways to allocate your limited population health funding, I strongly recommend you consider thinking about your anti-Google search strategy 😍, especially if you don’t already have one.

Nurses Rule, Doctors Drool: Why nurses are better than doctors to be the front door of healthcare, by Dr. Igor

Need health information or want help deciding if your health concerns should be seen at the ER? Look to a nurse. Searching for a better way for patients to interact with your health offering or system? Look to a nurse.

Yup, I’m a doctor. Yup, I think nurses are better than doctors for patients at the very beginning of their illness journey. That’s right, you heard me, I’m not scared to say it. 🙄 They just are. 😏 When Jen or Trevor get sick and are uncertain about what they have, who they should see, and where they should go, nurses are the perfect place to start. For so many reasons (see below), nurses should be the first go to, not doctors.

Doctors aren’t trained for patient triage

Doctors spend years learning about diagnoses, medications, the complex biology happening behind the scenes to cause illness, and the art required to discover the proper diagnosis. We’re very good about taking in a lot of information and narrowing it down (sometimes with extra tests and specialists) to a few specific diagnoses. However, this isn’t always needed! Oftentimes, all a person needs is to be heard, supported, and have their nerves calmed. Maybe by being told that they only have a simple, basic problem that could be cared for at home. No need for urgent trips to the office or the ER. No need for a specific diagnosis or medication.

Unfortunately, not all doctors are great at (1) listening, (2) supporting, and (3) helping people relax and feel reassured. Yes, we are slowly getting better at it! But, we still have a long way to go! And, remember, that’s not what our medical education focuses on – first and foremost, we have to be really good at getting the diagnosis right! 🙂

Ask a nurse first and get proper guidance

Now, take nurses instead. Nurses spend years WITH patients learning about the whole patient – both the illness/diagnosis part as well as how to deal with the human part. Nurses are constantly at the patient’s bedside communicating with family members. They answer their crazy friends’ text messages 24/7, helping them calm down when they realize their health concern really isn’t much of a concern. They always go above and beyond to ensure their patients understand what’s going on. It’s no wonder society trusts nurses more than any other profession. Being a good listener, supporting patients, and helping people relax is literally at the core of every nurse’s training. 😍

Unfortunately, some have decided that the front door to healthcare should be a doctor (or worse yet, an impersonal A.I. bot 😜). Most venture firms think doctors are what all patients want and many for-profit healthcare companies think the same. But, what do patients actually want? Well, the data says they want more help in deciding what they want. 😂

Dr. Google isn’t enough

Dr. Google has 100 billion health searches annually, which tells me patients aren’t sure about what they should do. 😂 If they wanted a doctor, they could have had one quickly and easily by pulling up a video visit, scheduling an appointment with their PCP, stopping by urgent care, or visiting the ER. But, they are starting on Google – the current front door to healthcare. Interestingly enough, our research has shown that these Google searches contain the modifier ‘nurse’ 3 times more than the modifier ‘doctor’ when people search for health advice. Surprising, isn’t it?

Forward-thinking healthcare entities and investors will realize that replacing Google with a doctor is nearly impossible, and a poor choice. First off, the cost of making doctors the front door is way too high. There are also not enough of us to support the demand (some estimate 3 nurses/nurse practitioners for every 1 doctor in the United States). Lastly, take in what I said above – nurses are better equipped to provide the compassionate support that patients need at this early (and vulnerable) stage in their journey.

If given the proper tools, nurses can drive patient engagement, proper utilization

Nurses are literally trained to deal with this exact problem. Their level of training and scope of practice is perfect for helping patients early in their illness journey. Often times they are underpaid😡, which makes them more cost-effective (😂). They are a larger workforce (and growing faster than doctors). And, because they are the most trusted profession, they are also strong influencers! 😎

If a parent is worried and wants to take her kid to the ER because he has cold symptoms, a Google search or even a chatbot will never change her mind. A video visit may help, but based on what the parent read on Google, she might be worried he needs to be seen in-person instead. If a nurse, after building rapport, tells her she is better off coming to the clinic or using telemedicine, she’ll be far more likely to listen. Trust, empathy, and influence beat Google or health chatbots every time.

Nurses— The best solution

Nurses are the perfect combination for healthcare’s front door 🙂 trusted, compassionate, personable, and knowledgeable. 😍 Yet, for some reason, we’ve stuck this incredibly talented workforce behind the wrong technology – the telephone. Today, despite text messaging in nearly every facet of life, patients still have to call in order to speak to a nurse. Usually, it’s not just a call, it’s leaving a voicemail followed by waiting anxiously by the phone to get a call back without knowing how long the wait might be. 🙄

Remember when we used to wait for taxis after calling them? Anxiously waiting and checking our watches, never knowing if they are actually going to show up or not. Now, we wouldn’t dream to take a Lyft/Uber without knowing it’s exact ETA and seeing its progress in real time.

Don’t patients AND nurses deserve better?

At Nurse-1-1, we believe we’ve found the perfect technology to leverage this unique workforce.

I’m a doctor and I say nurses are better than doctors when it comes to being healthcare’s first point of entry. Given the right tools, nurses will positively impact our growing problem of unnecessary ER visits, high healthcare costs, and uninformed patients.

– Igor Shumskiy, MD

Nurse-1-1 Health Center is written by nurses in a straight to the point type of way to provide basic health information. We get a lot of people like you searching online for answers to health concerns or looking for a hotline to ask a nurse a few questions. Questions like, I have been suffering from headache and fatigue for a while. Should I be worried? What is the the difference between a common cold vs flu? Is fever in kids bad? Well we can help. We put some info here for you to find while searching through all that other dry, scary medical information online. Stop that. Read our posts, or chat with us. This is not medical advice or a replacement for medical care, but see what we have to say with our free health information, and hopefully it will stop you from scaring yourself any more than you already have. We can help. 

Network effects and healthcare

Missing from most healthcare companies is an ability to build network effects into their services. Despite the healthcare industry’s lack of network effects, it is perhaps the industry that can benefit most from them. As the industry is currently set up, the more people who utilize healthcare services, the slower and more expensive those services become. Network effects can reverse this paradox. Building network effects into healthcare is the solution to really make a positive change in the affordability of care, improve patient experiences, and increase access to care that drives positive outcomes.

First, let’s refresh what we mean by “network effects.” The term network effect is mostly used when discussing social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or one of the many Silicon Valley consumers startups. The term is used to describe when a product or service increases in value to each consumer as the system grows in popularity (i.e. the more other people use the product). Mostly it is thought of as a way to get consumer app users to invite their friends onto a platform, but the more important impact is that each person makes the product better. Because each new user makes the product better, there are incentives for the community as a whole to invite their friends to the platform as a side effect to the network effect. For example, Apple’s iMessage app has added features when you are chatting with friends who are also using iMessage. The more people use iMessage over other messaging platforms, the better the experience. Thus, people are quick to shame their friends who are not using iMessage.

The network effect isn’t limited to social apps either. Companies like Tesla also benefit from network effects. The more people who drive a Tesla, the more data the company is able to process from the cars’ sensors that are collecting real world data. The more data processed, the better the self-driving capabilities become. Crowdsourcing traffic conditions and even available charging stations also improve with each added Tesla driver. Every new Tesla owner generates more data that Tesla models use to train, thus making its models even better. These models in turn make the entire Tesla platform even better for consumers. This encourages new consumers to buy Teslas, which adds to the value of owning a Tesla for everyone. The cycle continues until the switching costs are too high for anyone to fathom buying another company’s car.

Healthcare on the other hand has a lot of “Negative Network Externalities”

Overuse of the healthcare system unfortunately results in the opposite of network effects. These are called negative network externalities. In most cases in healthcare, the more patients use a service, the less valuable that service becomes for the other patients, and providers become overworked. If there were network effects, there would be an incentive for me to encourage more of my friends and family to get care at my provider. But there isn’t. In fact, I don’t know if any of my friends have the same healthcare provider as I do. Not only is there little to no reason for me to want more people to have the same doctor as I do, the opposite incentive is baked into the system. A popular provider’s office means my doctor might spend less time with me and might not have the time to understand my health concerns. Nurses answering triage phone lines who are hours behind on patient callback queues become stressed out and end up spending less time with their patients. These experiences matter in healthcare just as much as they matter in all other industries.

Nurse-1-1 brings network effects to our partnering clinics

Providers who manage multiple clinics should be taking advantage of these network effects. As we evolve Nurse-1-1 to partner with the existing healthcare players, we are also building in the ability for our partners to benefit from the network effects that Nurse-1-1 naturally creates. 70% of nurses who have joined Nurse-1-1 came from referrals by nurses who had already signed up for the platform. Nurses don’t just add value for the patients who use Nurse-1-1. Each nurse on Nurse-1-1 improves the experience for the other nurses working patient triage at the partnering clinic. In addition, when providers have more than one clinic location, each new location they add to Nurse-1-1 provides new nurses. Each location provides additional benefits to the others because of smart location routing features built into the Nurse-1-1 platform. In other words, Nurse-1-1 has network effects for nurses as well as clinic locations. Providers are incentivized to add all of their clinics onto Nurse-1-1. Patients, nurses, and patients all benefit. The network effects built into Nurse-1-1 can provide value for providers that makes them unmatched in a highly demanding industry.

Patient engagement and proper utilization of healthcare is a huge pain point for clinics. Waiting rooms are full of patients who probably don’t need to be seen by a provider, while another clinic in the network is having a slow night. Overutilization of healthcare (going to the doctors when you shouldn’t) and the confusion patients have about which service to use and when tend to bog down providers from the most critical patients who truly need care. Time consuming phone calls from patients that could better be answered by a text hamper the workflow of clinic’s nurses as they play phone tag and update patient charts after a basic phone call. As one of our clients describes, “I need to help my patients realize that they shouldn’t think they need to come into our office to ask about their newborn’s belly button, nor should they be waiting around if their kid’s appendix is about to burst”.

Nurse-1-1 solves these issues as a stand-alone service for a single clinic to better connect their nurses with their patients. In addition, network effects created by a provider’s network of clinics add more value that makes Nurse-1-1 something our partners won’t be able to live without. Truly leveraging a provider’s own network of clinics is a clear way for clinics to make a positive change in the affordability of care, improve patient experience, and increase access to care that drives positive outcomes.