The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change nearly all parts of our lives and businesses. This week, President Trump issued guidelines to follow over the next 15 days to help avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus. As a result of this national emergency, medical professionals, hospitals, and organizations are working around the clock to implement emergency support solutions for patients presenting worrying symptoms as well as those who need help understanding the guidelines for care.
This article focuses on emergency solutions that can be implemented quickly in this time of crisis. We will also follow up with a second article on solutions that will need to be implemented in the coming month to help patients who get sick. Please feel free to contact us if you need help setting up these or any other related processes. Our team is working 24/7 to help as many organizations and patients as we can.
STEP 1: VIRTUAL SOLUTIONS
A. Coronavirus-trained, non-clinical hotline – A hotline should be available 24/7 to ask screening questions, provide information, and follow client-specific scripts.
Our Triage Nurses have experienced a significant increase in calls. As news of COVID-19 spreads, many of the callers are individuals who are worried and need help understanding the symptoms. Others have some mild symptoms or cold-like symptoms and need help understanding what symptoms could suggest an infection.
To address the stress to medical professionals, we are working with organizations to set up hotlines to educate callers. These are trained professionals that can educate and send related materials. They can also screen calls and send those with a medical symptom to triage nurses. These measures can help alleviate the workload of clinical professionals if trained hotline staff can decrease the number of calls that end up requiring further evaluation.
B. Virtual medical visits – It almost goes without saying that virtual visits are going to be necessary in order to save time and decrease in-person patient contact. There are, however, multiple levels of medical visits that need to be considered.
- Doctors – doctors can evaluate patients over the phone and prescribe. Many practices already have the technology to see patients virtually and there are several platforms available that can be implemented quickly for those who do not yet have the technology. Our Triage nurses can also help doctors promote telehealth by setting up appointments when they take calls for practices.
- Triage Nurses – nurses are playing a vital role in helping contain the epidemic and alleviate the calls that go to the doctors. Nurses use Schmitt-Thompson triage protocols (including COVID-19 protocols) to evaluate and determine which patients require a consultation with a doctor. The protocols are being updated regularly as new information becomes available.
STEP 2: TRAIN OFFICE NURSES QUICKLY
It is important that medical practices ensure that their nurses know how to answer patient phone calls and know which ones require further medical evaluation. Web-based medical triage protocols from Dr. Schmitt and Dr. Thompson are quick to implement and easy to learn.
Tools for Training Office Nurses – Triage software such as the MyTriageChecklist is an easy to use software that can be implemented within minutes and used to train office nurses. The software ensures that nurses are asking all the necessary information to ensure patient safety. These protocols are also written by Dr. Schmitt and Dr. Thompson, include COVID-19 protocols, and are updated immediately as new protocol information is released. These are easy-to-train protocols and a great tool for clinical hotlines as well as doctor offices.
Once these (easy to implement) steps are put in place, the next month is going to require additional solutions to help patients who need help once they go home from a hospital. A trusted solution that can connect patients to your office and keep them updated about the pandemic will also help decrease anxiety and help everyone. We will discuss these solutions in our next article.
As the virus outbreak continues to evolve, TriageLogic will continue providing its clients with the latest information to allow for the best possible patient care. If you have questions or need help setting up a COVID-19 hotline, getting protocols for your nurses, or other issues relating to COVID-19, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (855) 734-4463.