Telephone triage protocols help triage nurses maintain a quality of care on a consistent basis. They are important for doctors to delegate workloads, standardize procedures, and give nurses decision support. Hospitals can use these protocols to maintain the proper flow for their patients, ensure patients are receiving the correct advice for the symptoms presented, save money, and ultimately save lives. Drs. Barton Schmitt and David Thompson have created a standard set of protocols that are trusted by the healthcare community at large. They are symptom based so that they can be applied to almost any caller. When these protocols are applied to a hospital setting, they ensure callers get the level of care they need, unnecessary ER visits are minimized, and doctor workloads are managed efficiently.
Telephone triage is a critical component of a successful patient management system and is a necessary tool for managing risk. When a patient calls a medical facility with a concern, it’s important that they receive the correct disposition. 95% of North American hospitals use Schmitt-Thompson protocols when they implement a telephone nurse triage process. They are trusted because they have shown to improve health outcomes, are evaluated regularly by the medical profession, and are updated yearly or more frequently as new information becomes available. For example, the triage protocols were updated frequently in 2020 as Covid information evolved.
Protocols allow doctors to safely delegate patient phone calls to nurses, allowing doctors to spend more time with patients who really need to see them. More importantly, triage nurses can use the software to determine which patients are eligible for a telehealth visit.
Nurse Triage Software
The protocols are symptom-based and provide a “decision tree” to nurses that guides them through questions, which in turn help the nurse determine the correct disposition for the patient. Many hospitals implement a 24/7 nurse triage solution to ensure patients are sent to the appropriate level of care needed to address their symptoms. Triage software, such as TriageLogic’s software solutions, allow these protocols to be used virtually. Software like myTriageChecklist Call Center Version can be used for whole hospital systems, day or night, and integrate with ERM systems. This allows all notes taken during the call to be saved and made a part of the patient’s medical record so they can be accessed later if the disposition calls for the patient to seek care.
Nurse triage software makes using these protocols easier for the nurses to learn and easier to implement into existing systems. Software can help create reporting that helps hospitals better understand their communities needs and track diseases like yearly flu outbreaks.
Organization and Flow of Care
Nurse triage software that uses the Schmitt-Thompson protocols helps cut down on Emergency Department visits, which keeps hospitals from being overburdened by patients who could use home care or can wait to see their physicians the next day. This cuts down on wait times, which helps patients with urgent problems get seen sooner and have a less frustrating experience. This increases patient satisfaction and helps doctors avoid burnout.
The Schmitt-Thompson protocols can assist hospitals in bettering their care, improving patient relations, and saving money. Medical practices can either implement a software for their nurses to use or outsource to nurse triage service providers to manage all the call with customized orders. To see if nurse triage software equipped with the Schmitt-Thomspon protocols can help your hospital or health organization, contact us today.