Patient Data: September- October 2015
As November begins, so does the cold and flu season. Patient calls to our nurse triage phone lines also increase, with patient calls peaking in the months of December and January. “It is estimated that in the United States, each year on average 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications.”
Some symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, sore throat, and headache. By having a triage nurse available to evaluate if a patient’s symptoms are serious or not, nurse triage can help identify flu cases early- even on holidays or weekends. Triage nurses also provide homecare advice for patients experiencing a cold.
What are some of the typical reasons why patients call a triage nurse line and what are the usual outcomes?
Patients often call because they have a medical symptom and they need a professional to help guide them and provide assurance. Our triage nurses handled about 22,500 phone calls from patients in the months of September and October 2015. Looking back at outpatient caller data for these two months, we found that the most common reasons for phone calls included:
- Fever- 3 months or older
- Cough Colds
- Medication Questions
- Vomiting Without Diarrhea
- Immunization Reactions
- Head /Injury
- Rash or Redness- Widespread
- Sore Throat
While many of these symptoms did not require immediate care, about one third of the cases required a visit to the doctor within 24 to 48 hours (including cases for prescription refills), and a few of the callers required immediate care. Table 1 below shows the breakdown of the dispositions determined by the nurses for the patient callers to TriageLogic Nurse Triage on CallTM in September and October 2015.
Table 1: Patient Call Data: September/October 2015
As these results demonstrate, most patients who called a Triage Nurse line were able to be treated with home care.
With a nurse triage service, providers are able to ensure that their patients are getting standardized, high quality of care with their custom orders. Providers are able to receive patient call notes and follow up on patients the next day if needed. This provides continuity of care and follow up with patient calls. Nurse triage is a cost-effective way to provide accessible healthcare for patients, while benefiting providers, and emergency rooms.
 Caller Data from the TriageLogic Nurse triage on call for the months of September and October 2015
What to Read Next: Cold vs. Flu: How Do Triage Nurse Differentiate?