Even in the age of the internet, calls still pour into the switchboard at Novant Health hospitals every day. In fact, they get around 65,000 calls each month, according to Melissa Kinney, supervisor of communications for switchboard operations. Questions range from patient information requests to classes and event information.
Kinney outlined and answered the most common questions her team receives.
“Can you help me find a patient?”
To locate a patient in one of our medical centers, you must provide the patient’s first and last name. Due to patient confidentiality, operators do not report on the conditions of patients.
“I have a question about my bill.”
Managing your bills after receiving care can be overwhelming. The Novant Health switchboard can connect you with the billing center. You can call the billing center toll-free directly at 1-844-266-8268. You can also pay your bill online.
“How do I request my medical records?”
For a copy of your medical records or other protected health information, patients can complete the patient request for access to protected health information. If you have questions about medical records, you can call 1-844-763-9163.
“Can I call a patient in the hospital?”
You may call a patient in any Novant Health hospitals by calling Patient Information at the specific hospital location and ask for the patient by full name. Note that patients in our critical-care areas do not have a phone in their room. The operator can transfer you to the waiting room where you may speak with family or friends that are present. While operators do not report on the condition of patients, they can transfer calls to a nurse's station where you can ask about your loved one.
“Can you give me medical advice?”
Sometimes the switchboard receives calls from the public asking for medical advice or for the operators to send an ambulance. The Novant Health switchboard operators cannot provide medical advice, nor can they dispatch an ambulance. If you are in need of an ambulance, always call 911. Operators can, however, transfer callers to Novant Health Care Connections, where a registered nurse can direct patients to a care setting most appropriate for their condition.
“Can you tell me about upcoming classes and events?”
Novant Health offers a variety of classes and events across its footprint. For more information about what’s available in your area, visit NovantHealth.org/classes or call toll-free 1-855-251-8808.
“What are visiting hours for Novant Health facilities?”
All Novant Health facilities have open visiting hours where guests can come 24/7 with the exception of pediatric, intensive care and behavioral health areas.
“Can someone stay in my room with me?”
One guest is allowed to stay overnight in a patient’s room – even in the intensive care unit.