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Medical Answering Service Case Study: Improve Medical Messages with Artificial Intelligence

In the United States, about 100 million messages are relayed to doctors and nurses every month. About one in six calls have a symptom that needs to be evaluated urgently. However, those urgent symptoms aren’t always conveyed accurately to providers. This is because nonclinical operators usually take messages from patients and send them to doctors and nurses. Neither operators nor patients are trained medical professionals, which can lead to inadequate messages, thus putting those patients at risk.

That’s why TriageLogic developed MedAnswer Assist, a powerful new tool that’s now available for analyzing the text of the message being entered and suggesting important questions to clarify symptoms when needed. Read about this recent case study to learn how this technology can help answering service operators, and improve patient care. 

Jane Doe’s Experience: Vertigo, or Stroke?

Consider the case of “Jane Doe.” She’s a 72-year-old female who calls her doctor’s office at 7 PM on a Saturday. She tells the answering service operator that she’s been experiencing another bout of vertigo, and would like to have her prescription refilled. The ASO takes Jane’s request and forwards it to the nurse on call, who views it as non-urgent since it’s only listed as a prescription refill. Fortunately, a nurse manager happens to notice Jane’s message as well, and decides to call her back. The manager asks Jane some additional questions about her symptoms, and discovers that she has also been experiencing a bad headache, feelings of dizziness, and weakness in her right arm. Based on this information, the nurse manager tells Jane to hang up immediately and call 911 to be evaluated for a possible stroke.

Situations like these are why TriageLogic has invested in the first patent-pending, artificial intelligence-based system designed to help answering service operators.

How Does MedAnswer Assist Work?

As an ASO inputs notes from a caller, MedAnswer Assist’s A.I. software analyzes them in real time and prompts the operator with additional questions when needed. The module’s proprietary algorithms ensure that there is enough relevant information from the patient’s answers to notify providers of a potentially urgent medical symptom.

Using this technology to help answering service operators will have a profound impact on patient health. Of the 100 million messages referenced above, about 20 million are urgent cases. We’ve seen how implementing MedAnswer Assist has prompted a 30 percent increase in the accuracy of urgent message referrals — that’s six (6) million calls!

These results have an immediate domino effect on patient health and healthcare finances: decreased morbidity and mortality, better patient health outcomes, reduced emergency medical expenses, and increased value-based care.

Implementing MedAnswer Assist

MedAnswer Assist is as convenient in its implementation as it is with its data analysis. You can either use it as a freestanding module out of the box, or integrate it securely with any electronic medical record system, answering service software, or nurse triage software that your team currently has. It can be plugged into any existing workflow seamlessly and securely, requiring minimal financial or technological requirements.

Triage Nurses

Triage nurses depend on ASOs so that they can fulfill timely callbacks to evaluate each patient’s symptoms and advise them on the best care providers. We saw in the example above how a few additional questions meant a substantial difference in Jane’s disposition for care. That’s why we’re so proud of this tool, not only for how well it can help answering service operators, but also how it can make nurse triage easier.

Here’s why: by correctly identifying the severity of each call — non-urgent, urgent, and emergent — nurses respond in the appropriate windows of time, and have their calls staggered more easily for review. Based on the analytics of these call volumes, they’ll have an easier time predicting future caller needs and when they’re most likely to have them.

Do You Need ASO or Nurse Triage Coverage?

MedAnswer Assist can be part of a much larger value-based solution for patient care. 

Does your team need answering service operators or triage nurses to manage your patient calls, either during the day or after hours? Then consider additional solutions from TriageLogic:

Nurse Triage On Call. If you need more call coverage for your patients — either during the day or after hours — TriageLogic has a call center of clinical and nonclinical staff who can assist your team 24/7 and act as a customized extension of your practice. Our ASOs use MedAnswer Assist to address all incoming patient calls. Our triage nurses use Schmitt-Thompson protocols, the gold standard in telephone triage, to address each patient’s symptoms based on severity. All patient interactions are documented using our secure triage software (more on that below), and shared directly with your doctors to ensure continuity of care.

Nurse Triage Software. TriageLogic’s myTriageChecklist is a fully developed solution that utilizes Schmitt-Thompson protocols. It works as a decision tree to evaluate and document patient symptoms, prompting nurses with the appropriate questions to advise patients on the care they should seek. This software is available with daytime and after-hours protocols, and can either be used by your own staff, or outsourced through our Nurse Triage On Call service. All patient data is shared with the appropriate providers, while meeting HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity best practices.

Schmitt-Thompson Protocols. Protocols are available in daytime and after-hours versions for a nominal fee, should you wish to integrate them with your own nurse triage software.

Help Answering Service Operators

We’ve seen how MedAnswer Assist consistently increases the accuracy of messages taken by nonclinical operators by over 30 percent. It works seamlessly with any existing system or workflow. It increases revenue for the answering services while increasing quality, provider satisfaction, and patient safety. The only question is, when do you want to try it with your team?

Contact us today to discuss a program and learn more about the other benefits of a fully established nurse triage solution. 

About TriageLogic

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 9,000 physicians and covers over 25 million lives nationwide.

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