What is Newfoundland and Labrador HealthLine and how does it work?
This toll-free line will give Newfoundlanders and Labradorians access to health information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter where you live.
HealthLine nurses will provide two different services:
|| Assess a caller’s symptoms or health condition and advise the caller on next steps such as whether they should visit an emergency department, see their physician or another health care provider, administer first aid or other steps.
Provide health information or direct the caller to an automated library of recorded health information.
Do not call HealthLine if it's an emergency situation. Always call your local emergency number or 911, where available.
Why has this service been introduced?
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is continually trying to ensure that health care is more accessible for each and every Newfoundlander and Labradorian. The provincial HealthLine service will:
- complement existing health care services
- facilitate use of most appropriate health services
- improve public access to health information and advice
- increase health education and awareness
When should I call?
The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays.
You can call when you need non-urgent health advice or information.
Will HealthLine provide bilingual services?
Yes. A French-speaking nurse will be available.
Are there services for those who have hearing or speech difficulties?
Yes. The TTY number is 1-888-709-3555.
Will the service offer referrals to specialists?
No. You will have to visit your physician to get a referral to a specialist.
Can I arrange for medical tests through HealthLine?
No. Medical tests are arranged through your physician’s office.
Does this service replace 911?
No. HealthLine does not replace 911. For emergencies always call your local emergency number or 911, where available.
Can I get prescriptions through this service?
No. You will have to visit your physician’s office to get a prescription.
Why do we need this service? Don’t hospitals and emergency rooms already give medical advice by phone?
This provincial HealthLine will use standardized computerized guidelines based on best practices to assist the registered nurse to provide the most appropriate information and advice to you.
HealthLine will enable physicians and nurses in hospitals to concentrate their efforts on the care of the patients in the hospital, instead of on the phone.
It also allows people an opportunity to learn about and manage their own health.
What information should I give the nurse when I call the HealthLine?
You may be asked to provide the following information to the nurse:
All information is kept confidential and there is no obligation to provide answers to any personal questions.
- name, telephone number, mailing address, next of kin, date of birth, gender
- reason for call
- description of symptoms
- other health-related information
Is there a fee to use HealthLine?
No. HealthLine is free and there is no charge for the telephone call.
There are many websites that offer medical advice. Why use HealthLine when I can simply go on the Internet?
Yes, there are many health-related websites. It is important that you use credible websites when seeking health information. HealthLine gives you the opportunity to speak to an experienced registered nurse about your specific symptoms.
Will my medical records be kept confidential?
Yes all medical records are confidential. Newfoundland and Labrador’s privacy and confidentiality guidelines are followed.
Is this only for rural areas? Could someone call from St. John’s?
This service is available to Newfoundland and Labradorians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week who need access to health information and advice, no matter where they live in the province.
Who is responsible if a wrong diagnosis is given?
HealthLine nurses do not make a diagnosis. The nurses follow computerized standardized guidelines and nursing practices of Newfoundland and Labrador. They provide you with health advice and/or information. They guide you to the most appropriate action to take to deal with your symptoms based on the information you provide through your description of your present symptoms.
If I call from St. John’s, and they refer me to an emergency room, could I use this as a referral and say that a HealthLine nurse told me to go there? Would I get any priority?
If you are referred to an emergency department, the nurse, with your consent, will fax your patient record to the emergency department to assist the health care providers in the emergency department with your health information. However this will not give you automatic priority at the emergency department. Your initial assessment by emergency department staff will determine when you will be seen.
Do the nurses make follow-up calls? For instance, if you are referred to an emergency room, is there then follow-up from HealthLine?
Initially there will be no follow-up service. However HealthLine is exploring the possibility of follow-up call services around chronic care management in the future.
Do you need your MCP number when calling?
Will the phone lines ever be busy or will I be put on hold? Will I have to wait on the phone for a nurse?
There may be times when the nurses are all busy responding to other calls. If so, a receptionist will take your telephone number and have the first available nurse return your call.
Is there any limit on how often you can call the line?
No, however this HealthLine should be used responsibly similar to other health care services.
Will the nurses have your information if you called before?
If you have called HealthLine previously the nurse will have this information available to them. You should provide the nurse with any important health information.
If the nurse decides that my condition is serious, can she connect me to an ambulance?
If the nurse's assessment determines that you require an ambulance, the nurse will stay on the line while calling an ambulance for you.