Exploring 811 use in Nova Scotia


In Nova Scotia, dialing 8-1-1 (or 7-1-1 for TTY) connects callers to non-emergency health information and services. Callers receive medical advice and reliable health information from Registered Nurses, 24 hours a day, all year round. 811 provides services in over 125 languages. 

About the study

On behalf of the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness (DHW), the MSSU is conducting a research study around the use of the 811 telephone service and online resources. The study aims to identify reasons why the public does and does not use 811 services, and whether things like age or gender may be related to different reasons for using or not using the service. This information can provide insights into opportunities to increase public awareness and use of this service. This study has been approved by the Nova Scotia Health Authority Research Ethics Board (NSHA REB, ROMEO File # 1024874).


The research team developed a short survey to further understand the reasons why people do and do not use 811. The confidential survey was open to residents of Nova Scotia who are 16 years of age or older, and could be completed online or through an interview (either in-person or over the phone). The survey was open from October 29, 2019 to January 21, 2020.

The survey asked about use of the 811 tele-triage service and website, and also asked some questions that help us to understand more about the person responding. The survey took approximately 20 minutes from start to finish, with the option to save progress and submit later. After completing the survey, there was an option to be entered into a draw for $100 grocery store gift card.

Our research team engaged with a number of community organizations to encourage individuals from all over Nova Scotia to complete this survey. We also worked with the Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), who facilitated interviews with individuals who were new to Nova Scotia, or a part of the immigrant community. Some of these interviews took place in a language other than English with the help of a telephone-based translation service. After we closed the survey, community members were invited to an engagement session to provide feedback on how our research team interpreted the survey results. The feedback gathered from this session will be used to shape how we report our findings. 

The study results will be made available on this page within 3 months of study completion, and returned directly to any survey respondents who provided their contact information for this purpose.

Project Lead

Amy Grant, PhD
Senior Health Policy Researcher


Elizabeth Jeffers, MSc
Research Project Manager