By Charu G. Raheja, Chair and CFO, TriageLogic Management
An increasing number of individual practices and medical organizations are using after-hours nurse triage to improve patient care, and they are reaping huge benefits. Not only does nurse triage provide cost-effective healthcare access to patients when their physicians’ offices are closed, but it helps decrease unnecessary visits to the emergency room and reduce risk by using standardized protocols and proper documentation.
To achieve continuity of care, documentation from the telephone encounter must be sent to the attending physician in a timely and effective manner.
Approximately 85% of practices today use paper charts. For these paper-based practices most triage centers send a fax that is generated securely as soon as the nurse completes the patient call. In many cases, physicians also have the option of getting an encrypted note emailed to them so they can print it themselves or review it electronically.
For the practices that already have an EMR system in place or already know which one they plan to implement, the ideal approach is to have the triage encounter sent directly to the patient’s EMR chart. This will help coordinate and integrate care, which is one of the requirements for a practice to become a medical home.
In addition to a Nurse on Call Center, offices also need to triage calls that they receive during the day from patients. It is strongly recommended by best practices that offices use protocol guidelines to help nurses and doctors ensure that patients are getting the highest quality standard of care when patients call the office during the day. In addition, office managers need to make sure that every call is being followed-up and documented.
TriageLogic prides itself on promoting quality-based interventions with patients who need help. Recently, a mother placed a call about her child’s illness and, following the help she received from her doctor’s office, made this unsolicited comment:
“As a parent it is wonderful to know that there is such a caring staff that I can depend on when I need it. In addition to calling and attempting to assist me, [the triage nurse] went above and beyond by calling me back to tell me about a solution that I could try to help.” I asked if she could email the instructions to me, which she did immediately following her shift. This added assistance was not expected but gave me a WOW experience.”
By implementing the new Translation Engine, TriageLogic can now link together all of its products and services with provider EMRs, which in turn will promote better clinical and business outcomes through an interoperable framework.
See the chart below that illustrates this process. We encourage you to read more about our products.