Peoria, Illinois,
11:26 PM

Rep. Bustos Visits OSF's Rapid Response Center for COVID-19

United State Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) is taking the pulse of health care providers in Illinois' 17th district. In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Congresswoman Bustos’ office has conducted outreach to every hospital in the district. Wednesday she toured OSF HealthCare's COVID-19 Pandemic Digital Response Center at Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center in Peoria.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Digital Response Center is the epicenter of OSF HealthCare's digital resource response to the global pandemic.

“I want to offer my congratulations and compliments to OSF - spending millions of dollars, just over the last week, to get this operation up and running. They know we are in the middle of this pandemic, and they want to be part of the solution,” said Congresswoman Bustos.


The COVID-19 Pandemic Digital Response center has made available digital solutions for the public. Whether you prefer to text, call or chat with a digital assistant, OSF HealthCare is leveraging every communication tool to support individuals worried about COVID-19.

The latest effort is the COVID-19 Nurse Hotline. This hotline allows for more than 100 nurses and health care professionals to staff 24/7 phone lines to answer questions, provide immediate screening and support the general concern and anxiety that is ever growing in our communities.

The new COVID-19 Nurse Hotline is an addition to the launch of Clare, a chatbot available 24/7 on the OSF HealthCare website that helps screen for and educate individuals about COVID-19.

“First we launched Clare, and that’s how we started to ensure that people in the call center were trained and prepared to answer phones, since they were re-deployed from across the Ministry, and needed to get comfortable in this new environment of supporting patients over the phone,” said Stephanie Grgurich, vice president of digital experience for OSF HealthCare. “We have transitioned to using the number to provide another option for the community.”


While Clare directs those with symptoms to the COVID-19 Nurse Hotline, those uncomfortable with the chatbot or texting can call 1-833 OSF-KNOW (1-833-673-5669) to directly talk to a clinician about their symptoms and concerns. Nearly 650 calls were received within the first 24 hours of operation.

“We are seeing calls from individuals concerned about their own exposure or exposure to others. They may be calling in because they are experiencing similar symptoms and they want to talk to someone who can walk them through the triage process and calm their concerns,” said Grgurich. “Really, we are finding that individuals just need someone to share with them that at this point you don’t meet the qualifications to proceed forward with a test.”


Thoe COVID-19 Nurse Hotline uses a set line of state and federal protocols to ensure every patient is appropriately and consistently screened. The goal is to ensure people are directed to get the right care in the right setting.

“This is the first line of defense to ensure there is access to resources for those who truly are experiencing elevated symptoms and need that one-on-one care,” said Grgurich.


Beyond Clare and the COVID-19 Nurse Hotline, OSF is also offering COVID Companion, a free text messaging tool the public can use to receive guidance about the illness. To subscribe, users can text OSF to 67634.