In order to give patients the best possible care, it is critical to stay at the leading edge of technology and to continuously develop new products. An exciting recent development at TriageLogic™ is the ability to offer an affordable integration engine that integrates every physician’s electronic health record system (EHR) with our nurse triage Call Center SoftwareTM. This means real time, two-way communication between the triage software and our physicians’ EHR.
As health care providers, we know that using the best information available to care for our patients is a priority. Providing an integrated system with our Nurse Triage on Call™ software will allow subscribing physicians to have real-time information about the triage encounter, and it will give our nurses access to an updated medical summary for each caller.
There are multiple advantages of such systems for practices looking for better data utilization. For example, an integrated system allows data aggregation for cost-saving studies.
Another advantage of integration is that it ensures that all triage documentation reaches the provider automatically and immediately. Integration bypasses the manual steps of faxing the encounter, scanning it in, and attaching it to the patient record. It also ensures that the information is available to providers in real time.
Practices invest a significant amount of time and money into their EHR. Nurse Triage centers should be able to utilize that resource to better help patients. However, it is not practical for a nurse to access every EHR to review the patient call for each caller. The implications are significant for triaging chronically ill patients and preventing hospital readmissions. Regular callers feel like the nurse on the phone really knows them and that the nurse is working in conjunction with the physician, which creates a good relationship. This rapport encourages them to call back and can further decrease ER usage.
Yet another advantage of integration is improved reporting capabilities. As individual practices and health care organizations are required to provide better care while lowering costs, the reporting capabilities of the triage call centers are going to play a significant role in reimbursement and performance evaluation (See our Chair message on ROI studies, also in this issue). Having a fully integrated system provides the ability to aggregate data in a meaningful way and prove outcomes to payers.
By using data from the practices and the triage center combined with the appropriate reporting tools built into the system, access to relevant and customized data becomes readily available.
For practices interested in electronic transfer of information, our integration engine can be expanded so that the medical summary of the patient and triage encounter can be made available to affiliated emergency rooms and other facilities through secure HIPAA-compliant portals. For example, a patient who is seen in the office that day calls after hours triage and is told to go to the emergency room. The ER physician will be able to see relevant data from the office and the triage nurse to provide more coordinated care. As part of the system, the emergency room visit can also be put back directly into the practice EMR. All of this can be accomplished with completely secure, HIPAA compliant systems.
In sum, providing an integrated EHR system with our Nurse Triage on Call™ software has many practical and healthcare advantages, and it ultimately improves physicians’ ability to provide the best possible care to patients.