Nurse Advice Line

Stomachache or Appendicitis? A Life-Saving Call to Nurse Advice Line

How do you know when a symptom is temporary or life-threatening? People are often left to make these decisions on their own, which can result in an expensive burden on their health plans. According to one study, 71% of ER visits are unnecessary and cost an average of $1,316, while office visit cost $145 – mistakes that are too costly to ignore1.

Rose* has been a registered nurse (RN) for 44 years. Prior to her role as a telehealth RN with the Envolve PeopleCare™ (EPC) Nurse Advice Line, Rose tended to patients in hospitals, during surgery, at home, in hospice, and even as a school nurse. She certainly knows a serious health matter when it arises and is able to utilize our URAC-accredited Health Nurse Advice Line triage services to provide real-time healthcare assessments to help callers determine appropriate levels of care.

When Melissa’s* call initially came in to the 24/7/365 Nurse Advice Line, she was transferred to Rose due to her symptoms and level of suffering. Fortunately for Melissa, Rose was able to quickly diagnosis this was no simple stomach ache. “Right away, I could hear the discomfort in her voice and knew she must be in a lot of pain,” Rose recalled.

“I used the telephone-triage protocol that all of our nurses use. It is based on medical guidelines and is comprised of assessment and screening questions that help determine the best level of care for the symptoms of our callers.”
Rose, Envolve PeopleCare Registered Nurse

As Rose guided Melissa through the necessary questions, the severity of her symptoms became apparent.

“I don’t think she realized how serious the situation actually was, but by answering these questions, she and I were able to determine the need to escalate,” Rose explained. “As a team, we consult with each other during calls and work together to rule out certain issues and options. We collaborate with our fellow RNs to enforce critical judgment of situations.”

Considering all factors, including that Melissa was currently out of state and far from her primary provider, Rose recommended she go to the emergency room. “I felt some hesitation in her voice, so I encouraged her because they would need to assess in order to rule out appendicitis or other acute abdominal conditions,” Rose said.

A few days later, Melissa called the Nurse Advice Line to thank the team for saving her life. She followed Rose’s advice and ended up having a life-saving emergency appendectomy.

Rose learned of the outcome and Melissa’s “thank you” call as a result of our Quality Team, which monitors Nurse Advice Line calls. As part of the process to ensure the best possible care is provided to our members, the Quality Team also often captures such compliments and feedback.

The Envolve PeopleCare Quality Team plays a big part in helping our RNs maintain the highest standards and components of our calls so we have positive outcomes.

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*Names have been changed to protect identities.