In an event of a natural disaster, many medical practices are forced to close due to mandatory evacuation. This creates a void of medical help available for those in areas affected by natural disasters. One of our recent natural disasters, Hurricane Florence, largely affected the North Carolina region in September. Shortly after, Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida gulf area in October 2018. Many hospitals and doctor offices were forced to close down due to mandatory evacuations. Our Triage Nurses were there to assist anyone who needed a preliminary evaluation of their symptoms and guidance on the next steps for healing.
In North Carolina alone, 40 hospitals and 10 nursing homes were evacuated due to Hurricane Florence. 40 Nursing homes were evacuated in South Carolina. In Florida, 5 hospitals were closed due to the hurricane. In Georgia, 35 Hospitals and nursing homes were without electricity and operated with generators. While some sheltered approved hospitals may stay open during the hurricane, most will become crowded. Some of the ailments that people suffer from might not need immediate attention, as much as they think. The opposite is true as well. People might underestimate the seriousness of their symptoms and choose not to go to the ER, especially in a time of crisis and closed hospitals. Having access to a triage nurse will help manage the number of people visiting the ER before, during, and after a natural disaster. Triage nurses can ensure the ones that absolutely need immediate attention are the ones in the ER. This will efficiently streamline the process for healthcare. Nurses are also able to give home care advice for people who can take care of their health symptoms without seeing a provider.
Triage nurses use the Schmitt-Thompson protocols to evaluate patients based on the symptoms expressed over the phone, ensuring consistent care for every caller. The calls are also documented fully and sent to the provider for follow up with the patient. Using triage nurses as a resource is beneficial for your practice during a normal day, but crucial during a time of crisis. TriageLogic’s® triage nurses rely on our Call Center Software Solution™ that allows them to work remotely. Several of our nurses were evacuated during Hurricane Florence. Some of these nurses were able to get to a safe location and continue taking calls, and we deployed additional nurses in areas not affected by the natural disaster. We were able to take patient calls without interruptions and on time.
To track how the triage nurses helped, here is the data recorded from the number of calls taken when the hurricanes made landfall and 2-4 days after to account for recovery time from the hurricane. When compared to the same number of days from the days of the week last year, we can see that our triage nurses were able to help 200-300 additional patients during the time the hurricanes hit.
Triage nurses are able to care for patients as an extension of their doctor, by evaluating symptoms over the phone and following each doctor’s custom orders. The 24/7 availability of care access develops the trust between your practice and patients, even when your practice is closed for the day. Patients can be rest assured that no matter where they are or what time it is, medical advice from a trained nurse is just a phone call away
Want to learn how TriageLogic’s® triage nurses can help your patients? Contact us today.