The uptick in patient calls that telehealth nurses first witnessed before the holidays is not letting up, and the reason seems clear: the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has become a concern for a lot of people. Our team has noticed that these calls aren’t simply increasing in volume, they’re also increasing in duration. Callers’ fears often require reassurance before nurses can even begin triaging their symptoms. This creates a problem if patients with more immediate, potentially life-threatening conditions have their care delayed because they cannot get through. In order to ensure that all patients receive the appropriate triage, read our tips on how telehealth nurses need to change their tactics.
1. Identify Common COVID Concerns
Start by compiling a list of the concerns your patients have. Team members from our nurse triage call center report that many are asking about symptoms they normally would have ignored or downplayed prior to the pandemic. For instance, those experiencing a fever between 99 and 100 degrees would usually have treated it at home because they would have assumed it was a cold or the flu. Now they’re worried about whether they should go to a hospital.
The same is especially true for parents who are calling about their children who are two years old or younger. Even if the root cause is the common cold, new parents sometimes imagine worst-case scenarios even if their children have not been exposed to any viruses, but are now vomiting or running a fever.
2. Empower Patients with Knowledge
In order to maximize the value of the time spent on these calls, telehealth nurses must empower these patients with knowledge. Take the common concerns you’ve received, create brochures of information that address them, and share that material with your new callers. This can help to alleviate their frustrations and fears, address their questions quickly, and respectfully refer them to credible scientific sources like the CDC for further updates as they become available.
TriageLogic has begun implementing this tactic within our own nurse call center, which allows our triage nurses more time to use Schmitt-Thompson protocols to evaluate caller symptoms, determine what kind of providers they need, and even schedule telehealth appointments on their behalf. This outsourced triage support not only frees up time that providers can use for assisting urgent in-office visitors, but it also gives our nurses more availability to assist callers who are in greater need of immediate medical attention.
Would you like the same nurse telehealth services for your patients? Contact us today to start that process.
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.