Asking the Right Triage Questions to Provide Correct Patient Dispositions

Asking the Right Triage Questions to Provide Correct Patient Dispositions

Telephone nurse triage is all about questions. To properly separate patients’ conditions into levels of severity, the right questions need to be asked in the right order. TriageLogic nurses use Schmitt-Thompson Clinical Content protocols to assist with information collection, decision making and further direction.

The benefits to asking the right questions are many including, a standardized approach to providing care, a reduction in errors and liability and a quicker and more-efficient process for assessing patients. The Schmitt-Thompson protocols cover more than 90% of medical calls including symptom-based (cough, fever), exposure-based (influenza) and disease-based interactions. Always ask the questions in the order they are presented in the protocol to avoid a delay of care. Once the appropriate questions are asked, patients can be slotted into one of nine disposition levels:

  1. Call 911 now – patients with life-threatening conditions
  1. Go to the Emergency Room (ER) now – emergent symptoms that require ER resources
  1. Go to the ER or your primary care provider (PCP) now – emergent symptoms that can be evaluated or managed in a physician’s office or may be redirected to ER
  1. Go to your PCP’s office now – less emergent symptoms that can be evaluated by a PCP, preferably within two hours
  1. Be seen today in your PCP’s office – urgent symptoms and patients who request to be seen today
  1. Be seen today or tomorrow in your PCP’s office – non-urgent symptoms
  1. Be seen within 3 days in your PCP’s office – persistent symptoms that are not becoming worse
  1. Be seen within 2 weeks in your PCP’s office – chronic or recurrent symptoms that are not becoming worse
  1. Home or self-care – mild symptoms that can be managed at home with care advice

The Schmitt-Thompson triage protocols contain many other dispositions for scenarios that are less clinical including referrals to a dentist, local poison control center, suicide-prevention resources and local or national social service providers.

Discover how TriageLogic can help you manage your patient calls, 24-hours-a-day, 7 days a week by calling (855) 734-4463 or contacting us via email.