Increased Call Volume Due to 2018 Influenza Season
There is no denying it, we are in the middle of Flu Season. Is your practice experiencing an influx of patient calls? TriageLogic nurses have seen a 28% increase in call volume from December to January. Many of these patients are suffering from flu-like symptoms and reaching out to their providers for care advice.
We are just entering week 13 of this year’s flu season. The average duration has been 16 weeks over the last five seasons. However, seasons can last up to 20 weeks. Meaning there are still several weeks left of increased flu activity.
According to the most recent CDC flu activity update, levels of influenza-like-illness across the country are now as high as the peak of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The update also reported that hospitalizations are breaking records. The graph from the CDC clearly shows that hospitalizations this year are dramatically higher than previous years.
People at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, include those who are very young, very old, pregnant women and people with conditions like heart or lung disease. This has been an especially deadly flu season, with one out of 10 people who died in the past week have passed from influenza or pneumonia. Reports are also attributing the deaths of 63 children to the flu this season.
“Clinicians don’t have to wait for confirmatory flu testing, and should begin treatment with antiviral drugs immediately if they suspect flu in a severely ill or high-risk patient,” says CDC Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat. “There is a lot of flu out there right now. If it looks like flu, it probably is.”
It’s especially important for parents to speak with a healthcare provider at the first sign of trouble. Make sure that your office is ready for these calls with a quality telephone triage system, such as TriageLogic’s myTriageChecklist. Or if your office is looking for a service that extends your practice’s availability to patients after-hours checkout TriageLogic’s other products Call Center Solution or Nurse Triage On Call.
What to Read Next: Cold vs Flu: How Do Triage Nurses Differentiate?