TUESDAY, JANUARY 22: The Argus Group today announces the launch of teleNurse, a free medical advice hotline, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from Bermuda. The service is available to Argus Health customers toll-free by calling +1 855 257 8908.

The new service, sponsored by Argus Health and provided by FONEMED, is designed to give Argus Health clients convenient, round-the-clock access to quality health care information. It is intended as a first step for people when they are sick or injured and want advice on whether they need further medical attention and where they should get it. The service is also available for general medical questions or concerns.

Enquiries to teleNurse will be answered by a registered nurse at FONEMED. In non-urgent cases, callers will have the option to be transferred to the “Health Information Library,” where they can listen to recorded materials on a wealth of health-related topics.

The service is part of a long-term drive by the Argus Group to address the rising cost of health care by reducing claims through preventing unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office or emergency room.

The average emergency room and clinic visit in Bermuda costs $550 and $382 respectively. teleNurse also serves to channel consumers straight to appropriate health care providers and support health care providers in managing chronic conditions.

Michelle Brock Jackson, Executive Vice President, Group Insurance, the Argus Group, says: “We at Argus Health are constantly looking for ways to make life a little easier for our clients and the launch of teleNurse is testimony to this. I’m sure most of us have experienced long waits at the emergency room for what turns out to be a non-urgent condition. With teleNurse, clients can now speak to a medical practitioner from the comfort of their armchair. The service also benefits employers by eliminating the need to find cover for staff attending unnecessary medical appointments.

“The Argus Group is very much committed to working with the Government to combat the rising cost of health care in Bermuda, which continues to be the key driver in pushing up health insurance premiums for everyone. I am confident that this new service sponsored by Argus Health will make a significant contribution to this aim by cutting down unnecessary usage of the health care system. It also helps to educate consumers about how to proactively manage their health and help them to self-select the most appropriate treatment.”

According to research conducted by Health Services Research and Development,[1] 50 per cent of emergency department visits in the U.S. are non-urgent and could therefore be treated in a lower cost setting.

A call to teleNurse does not replace 911 – that is always the first number you should call in emergency situations in Bermuda.