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New Monument Health Program Lets Patients Schedule COVID-19 Tests Online

Oct 15, 2020 09:52AM ● By MED Magazine
Patients with symptoms of COVID-19 can now go online and schedule drive-up tests at a Monument Health location in Custer, Lead-Deadwood, Rapid City, Spearfish or Sturgis.

Until now, all patients had to schedule their tests by calling Monument Health’s Nurse Triage Line. The new online option is for patients who do not need to speak with a nurse, but have symptoms and want to schedule a test.

The Nurse Triage Line will continue to be a resource for patients who have questions, complex cases or a need to schedule an in-person or telemedicine doctor visit. They can also schedule diagnostic tests. In addition, the Nurse Triage Line staff will continue to operate the Care Companion program, which closely monitors COVID-19 patients who are treating themselves at home.

Since it launched this spring, the Nurse Triage Line has received about 40,000 calls. Nurses have guided patients through testing and treatment throughout much of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, however, the Nurse Triage Line has been extremely busy as the number of cases has increased and as children return to school.

Not long ago, the Nurse Triage Line was receiving about 250 calls per day on weekdays and 100 calls per day on weekends, according to Stephanie Lahr, M.D., Chief Information Officer and Chief Medical Information Officer. More recently, as many as 500 people per day were calling in on weekdays and 200 per day on weekends.

“It has been a great resource for so many patients, and we’re excited that it’s been a success,” Dr. Lahr said. “We’re also frustrated that patients are spending a lot of time on hold.”

She said the new online scheduler will free up the patient’s time and allow the nurses to better serve those who have complicated cases and other questions.

Drive-through testing is available at Monument Health Clinics in Custer, Lead-Deadwood and Sturgis as well as the 10th Street Clinic in Spearfish and the Monument Health Urgent Care on Jackson Boulevard in Rapid City.

The new program can be found on the Monument Health<> website. There is a small yellow tab in the lower right corner of all pages. After answering a series of questions, patients will be directed to their MyChart account or to the scheduling app to find a convenient time to schedule a drive-through test.

If the test is negative, results will be emailed to the patient’s MyChart inbox. If the test is positive, the patient will be notified by phone. The nurse will talk the patient through the treatment options and answer other questions.