Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in South Dakota recently celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its trusted call center service, Ask-A-Nurse. Additionally, the hospital celebrated another milestone by answering Ask-A-Nurse’s one-millionth call in July.
The health system, which consists of a 545-bed tertiary hospital, 14 regional hospitals, and network of specialty care and clinics, saw the opportunity 20 years ago to enhance the patient experience and better serve the community by offering a convenient, around-the-clock call center for a number of services. To that end, Avera’s Ask-A-Nurse provides services such as triage, after-hours triage for several physician practices, follow-up care calls, general health information, physician referrals, and arrangements for interpreter services.
“Ask-A-Nurse has been an integral part of enhancing patient satisfaction,” says Monte Bertsch, call center director. “A trusted service in our community, it has helped us reach goals such as decreased no-shows for appointments and procedures.” With a total staff of 18 RNs, the call center has had at least two nurses (who currently work alongside six call center representatives) on staff since its inception in 1990 and available 24×7, 365 days a year.