If you get sick, you will go to a doctor. But are you sure what kind of doctor to visit for your problem?
A gynecologist can’t help with breast lump?
Let’s imagine the following scenario: a lady woke up in the morning and found a lump in her right breast during a shower. She immediately made an appointment for a famous gynecologist in town on her friend’s recommendation. In the consultation three days later, the doctor told her: “A gynecologist does not look after surgical problems of the breast. Let me refer you to a surgeon.”
“Seeing the wrong doctor” such as this happen almost every day. Ideally, one should attend a general practitioner or family medicine doctor for assessment before being referred to a specialist according to their conditions. In the unique situation in Hong Kong where patients may go to a private specialist directly, it is crucial to know what one’s medical need really is beforehand, to avoid wasting money and, more importantly, time of which a delay may be detrimental to health.
Nurse hotline to answer medical enquiries
Considering such phenomenon, some insurance companies establish designated nurse hotline to help their customers. Managed by the insurer’s medical director and operated by registered nurses, the hotline serves to help answer customers’ medical queries and help customers to better understand their own needs through the conversation. The nurses can also leverage on their expertise to provide medical knowledge to help customers manage certain common conditions, such as how to take care of a child with fever. In addition, these nurses with insurance knowledge can also offer tailor-made recommendations based on customers’ existing insurance plans coverage, for example which aspects of medical expenses are covered and the extent of their entitlements.
Customers calling the nurse hotline are often worried and anxious, and nurses can help to relieve their emotion with empathetic and caring explanation. While nurses are not doctors and cannot solve their health problems on the phone, their dialogue do comfort their customers and enable them to make informed choices based on proper medical suggestions.