Medical message intake challenges, such as those related to properly vetting patient calls, continue to pose significant obstacles in urgent care settings. Despite its prevalence, the traditional red flag screening system has inherent limitations in accurately assessing patient symptoms and gauging their severity due to potential reliance on incomplete information provided by patients. As a result, delays in patient care can occur. To address these challenges effectively, it is crucial to implement solutions that can tackle them head-on. Augmented intelligence emerges as a promising solution for medical call centers, facilitating connections between patients and triage nurses or providers within appropriate timeframes. By leveraging augmented intelligence, medical call centers can overcome these challenges and improve the overall efficiency of patient care delivery.
Here’s a brief review of a traditional red flag system, how it may be insufficient in addressing calls, and how an augmented intelligence tool can overcome these challenges.
The History of Red Flag Screening
Healthcare telecommunication services have long relied on red flag (or urgent list) screening systems to vet patient calls. These are meant to prioritize calls by fast-tracking ones that indicate medical conditions that are severe, life-threatening, or urgent.
A red flag screening system works by giving a nonclinical operator or healthcare professional a series of predefined questions to ask a patient. The patient’s responses are then evaluated against a red flag or urgent list of symptoms and conditions. Each symptom indicates a potential medical emergency or condition that needs immediate attention. If any reported symptoms align with items from that list, the call is marked as high priority.
Red Flag Limitations
Because it relies on a checklist-based approach, red flag screening is not able to get a complete picture of the complexity behind all patient symptoms. Additionally, because patients aren’t trained medical professionals, it’s easy for them to overlook or neglect to mention information that could indicate more serious medical concerns.
If nonclinical operators receive inadequate data for medical message intake, the messages that they relay to triage nurses won’t be sufficient for them to properly categorize patients’ needs as nonurgent, urgent, or emergent.
Augmented Intelligence Benefits Intake Accuracy and Nonclinical Training
An augmented intelligence tool can help nonclinical operators overcome medical message intake challenges in several key ways.
First, it can actively analyze text input in real-time to ensure a thorough screening process. It gives operators a more nuanced understanding of each symptom that patients describe, while using predictive capabilities to display follow-up questions that operators should ask when it detects the possibility of further health complications.
Second, it can adapt to traditional red flag/urgent lists and integrate with existing health management systems, giving nurses and providers advanced functionality without requiring any major system overhauls.
Third, it offers a tool that enhances the capabilities of nonclinical operators, making them more accurate and efficient while allowing them to maintain the core of what makes them essential: empathy.
Lastly, augmented intelligence makes the training process for new nonclinical staff much more effective. Traditional onboarding can take upwards of a month and may not solidify the knowledge necessary to address all patient calls and situations. Augmented intelligence uses intuitive instruction that cuts training time in half, and provides advanced support so that operators are prepared and able to minimize mistakes. In our experience, that means reducing intake errors to less than 1% — all of which leads to improved care, reduced liability, and fewer instances of operator turnover.
Augmented intelligence presents medical call centers with the opportunity to refine their message intake by allowing a more accurate, efficient, and reliable screening process compared to red flag lists. It’s important to note that this service should be viewed as a tool for operators, not their replacement. It’s meant to augment human capabilities so that operators can focus on patients’ needs, offer them empathy, and share relevant, accurate messages with triage nurses. This makes operators’ jobs more manageable, and provides patients with a comprehensive and transparent screening experience.
If you’d like to learn about how TriageLogic utilizes augmented intelligence in its healthcare solutions, click here to schedule a meeting.
TriageLogic is a URAC-accredited, physician-led provider of top-quality nurse telehealth technology, remote patient monitoring, and medical call center solutions. Founded in 2007, the TriageLogic Group now serves more than 22,000 physicians and covers over 42 million lives nationwide.