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The Importance of an Independent Triage Nurse on Evaluating Symptoms – Interview with Dr. Charu Raheja and Dr. Ricardo Hanel

As medical provider knows, telephone triage nurses play a crucial role in evaluating symptoms and ensuring that patients receive the right level of care for their symptoms. A frequently discussed benefit of having a triage nurse available 24/7 is the decrease in unnecessary ER usage and its associated savings to health care. A less discussed and even more crucial benefit is the impact that triage nurses have on saving morbidity and improving patient wellbeing by ensuring that people are sent to the ER even when they underestimate their symptoms.

Underestimating symptoms is surprisingly more prevalent than one would expect. Survey data shows that close to 10% of all callers tend to underestimate their symptoms, especially when those callers are adults with symptoms. Our ebook Patient Symptoms & Outcomes dives more on this topic.   Dr. Charu Raheja, CEO of the TriageLogicR Group, discussed her personal journey with her health in a recent interview by a television news channel. Charu discussed how, even someone as educated in triage as her, missed the signs of an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) that burst and caused her to have a stroke. Charu took over one week to seek medical care and she is fortunate to be alive.

Dr. Ricardo Hanel also participated in the interview. Dr. Hanel was Charu’s neurovascular surgeon. He explains how an AVM is a tangle of blood vessels prone to bursting and can cause a life threatening bleed in the brain. He discussed how hard it is to know that a patient has an AVM until they start displaying symptoms enough to merit a CAT Scan. Most of the time, AVMs are only diagnosed after a it bleeds and the patient suffers a hemorrhagic stroke.

“One important thought never left my mind was that If this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone, …”   says Charu of her thoughts following her stroke and surgery. “As I started to talk to people that I met, I started learning more about others who also missed important symptoms. Some of them had lost their loved ones.” Continues Charu.

The conclusion and lesson from their messages is that people need access to an educated and impartial health care provider who can evaluate their symptoms and determine the best level of care for them. Triage nurses can play that role for doctors when their offices are closed. Hospitals around the country also provide a telephone triage number to help improve the health of the communities that they serve.

As a company, our Co-founder’s experience has only strengthened our drive to increase patient access to care and provide them with the best possible outcome for their symptoms.

Interested in setting up a nurse triage line for your patients or your community? Call us now and we will take care of the rest.

About Dr. Charu Raheja

Dr. Charu Raheja is the Co-founder and Chair of the Triage Logic Group. TriageLogic is a URAC accredited, a physician-led provider of high-quality services and software for Telehealth. We integrate a unique blend of innovative communication solutions with medical expertise based on practical experience and a thorough understanding of the field. TriageLogic is a leading provider of top-quality triage technology and call center solutions. Most recently, her experience in overcoming a life-threatening health event led her to launch the Continuwell brand.

In addition to the TriageLogic Group, Charu is on the national board of directors of Community Health Charities, where she serves on the Corporate Governance and Finance Committees and chairs the Audit Committee. She is involved in several non-profits, including Women Business Leaders in Health Care (WBL), the Women Giving Alliance, and CISV International.  As a brain AVM (stroke) survivor and she facilitates a patient support group for Aneurysm and AVM stroke survivors at the Baptist Hospital in Jacksonville. 

About Dr. Ricardo Hanel

Ricardo Hanel, MD, PhD, is known for his skill in treating acute stroke and cerebrovascular conditions with ground-breaking endovascular therapy that can be performed from inside the blood vessel. Dr. Hanel also has a special interest in neurosurgical research. His areas of expertise are: Endovascular Neurosurgery, Brain Aneurysms, Acute Stroke Intervention, Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs), Arteriovenous Fistulas (AVF), Cerebrovascular Disease, Skull Base Neurosurgery, and Brain Tumors.