America’s On-Demand Society and the Effects on HealthCare
Benefits of nurse triage to patients and providers.
By Charu G. Raheja
The past few years have seen more services become “on demand” for consumers. Companies such as Netflix, DVR, and Amazon Prime have created a society where products and services are available quickly and on demand. Healthcare is no different. Patients today expect the same fast and always available service from providers. While it is important to never compromise on care, convenient, affordable access to healthcare has never been more necessary in America’s marketplace.
Many patients choose to spend a few moments clicking through pages on the internet to diagnose and treat themselves when medical symptoms arise instead of visiting the doctor’s office. Studies have shown that this is an inadequate method of treating illnesses resulting in only about a 34% success rate in properly diagnosing the issue on the first attempt. Patients who speak to a medical professional are able to ensure that the treatment received is appropriate for their symptoms.
Nurse Triage: Convenient 24/7 Access
With so much data available, patients now have endless means to finding health information. The problem is that not all the information available is medically sound or appropriate for the patient. Nurse triage systems, such as TriageLogic®’s Nurse Triage On CallTM, allow patients to have quick and easy access to a medical provider to answer their questions and ensure appropriate care. Further, new technology resources such as an app to message the nurse further improve access to health care for the patient.
When an office or medical center chooses to implement nurse triage, the providers can rest easy knowing that patients are speaking with healthcare professionals even on nights, weekends, and holidays. Triage nurses call patients and, through standardized protocols, help direct the patients to the correct level of care. Many patients are uncertain about the proper time frame for the care they need and could possibly rush to the ER, or, even worse, ignore their symptoms. Studies have found that as many as 70% of the patients who think that they needed an emergency room visit do not need to go in. However, about 8% of the patients that don’t think they have an emergency have a symptom that requires an ER visit. For a detailed look at ROI and Triage read Nurse Triage ROI and Using Triage to Improve Health.
All triage encounters are documented by triage nurses and sent to providers to ensure continuity of care. This prevents gaps in care and allows patients to follow up with their primary care physicians. New available smartphone technology, such as MyNurseTriage, allows patients to bypass the answering service by quickly typing their symptoms and sending them to the triage nurse. Nurses call the patient back and perform triage as usual. Providers benefit by avoiding unnecessary answering service charges, keeping patients from unnecessary ER visits, and enjoying more satisfied, properly cared for patients.
In todays age, more patients want easy and quick access to their health care professionals at all times. Availability of a nurse triage service and smartphone app can provide the communication and ease of access that patients are seeking while allowing physicians to ensure they are providing high quality continuity of care 24/7.
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