OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Mercy is launching a new on-call program that connects patients to medical professionals at any time during the day.
Patients experiencing medical issues late in the day no longer have to wait until the next morning to make a call for medical guidance. They can contact Mercy on Call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to a Mercy news release.
Mercy on Call is similar to a service called Nurse on Call, in which registered nurses guided patients through treatment at home or advised them to go to an emergency room. But the new program goes beyond Nurse on Call by adding physicians and advanced practice providers.
After-hour and weekend calls to Mercy primary care adult patient offices are automatically sent to Mercy on Call.
“Nurse on Call still handles after-hours requests for pediatric patients, backed by on-call physicians. Work is underway to add full-time physicians and advanced practice providers to that service as well,” the news release states.
The news release referenced the story of Mercy patient Keith Cutright, who was suffering from a urinary tract infection. Cutright was connected to Mercy on Call. He received help from a doctor and nurse practitioner.
“My wife called to see if the culture was back, since I wasn’t doing any better on my current antibiotic treatment,” Cutright said. “It wasn’t, so we figured we’d just have to wait. Then, a few hours later, Allison, the NP, called back. She said the culture results were in and the bacteria was resistant to my medication. She had talked to one of the doctors and they sent in a new prescription. I was a new person by Monday morning!”
Mercy on Call is free. Team member may recommend the ER in some instances, but in other instance, patients may get the care they need without leaving the couch.
“I could have very easily wound up in the hospital,” Cutright said. “Instead, I was able to get better at home. To take care of my original phone call was one thing, but to call back later was above and beyond!”
The COVID-19 pandemic created a need for more advanced remote care.
“Patients were looking for more virtual care,” said Dr. Justin Huynh, vice president of population health at Mercy. “We quickly delivered with even more video visit options, but sometimes a phone call is faster and easier for patients – especially late at night or on weekends. Nurse on Call has always been busy for that reason, so adding physicians and advanced care providers to expand capabilities of the team made complete sense.”