Solutions for patients who call for an appointment or medical advice

In the past month, Carle's Patient Care Contact Center has experienced a spike in phone calls from patients wishing to schedule appointments or requesting medical advice and information.  

"The Patient Care Contact Center has been answering 300-500 more calls per day compared to this time last year. On average the Patient Care Contact Center fields 6,000 phone calls per day," said Eli Smith, vice president of Primary Care. 

Smith and others attribute the increase in calls to two primary reasons:

1. Area school districts have been posting notices to parents to get their children immunized and have all the proper physicials before the start of the school year.

2. Carle has recently hired more providers which means more new patients are calling for appointments.

"Carle is currently looking to hire and train 13 additional Patient Care Contact Center operators by the end of the month to help with the extra calls," Smith added.

The Patient Care Contact Center has also implemented a new call back feature, in which a caller can leave their phone number and a representative will call them back. This means a patient can hang up and do other things and not be tethered to a phone waiting on hold.

UPDATE: From July 20 to September 1, the Patient Contact Center is offering extended hours. Call 326-1894 from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday to schedule appointments.

Patients can also use their online MyCarle account instead of a phone call to:

  • Request an appointment
  • Request a prescription renewal
  • As a nurse about certain medical conditions

Smith said, "We are working diligently to solve the increased wait times at our Patient Care Contact Center.

"We thank the community for its patience and we believe the wait times will level off soon."