Healthwise: Finding A New Doctor

By: Laura Mammarella Email
By: Laura Mammarella Email

April 21, 2010

If you call 434-654-7009, you'll likely hear this: "Good morning, Martha Jefferson Health Connection, this is Angie how may I help you?"

Nurses at the Martha Jefferson Hospital are on call, waiting to help as part of a service called Health Connection. The call center is a physician referral line that helps patients find the best doctor for their needs.

"If you're looking for a female physician in her mid-forties who specializes in cardiology, who has office hours in the evenings, and who graduated from the University of Virginia, we can make a match for you," said Angie Sheffer, Director of Health Connection.

Health Connection has been in service for two decades. Operators man the phone lines Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm, answering 150 calls per day on average. Their goal is simple; to help the caller in any way they can.

"Anything related to their health care, anything that might come up, anything that they're nervous or scared about, they can call us, and we can get them help," said Sheffer.

While the Health Connection call center doesn't provide direct medical advice, it can help you find the right nurse or doctor to answer your questions.

"We like to think of it not as like a concierge service, but more of a navigator type of system. We can navigate you to the different areas throughout the hospital," said Sheffer.

Operators say building a relationship between themselves and the callers is what makes the system work.

"We want them to feel like they can call us two years from now, should they need a dermatologist or orthopedic physician because a need has come up. So, yes, we do want to maintain that long term relationship," said Sheffer.

That trusting relationship is sure to keep the phones ringing and patients healthy for another 20 years to come.

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