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A national bi-annual survey examining some attributes of nurse triage systems was just released, with some interesting findings. A core objective of the survey was to assess the general trends related to health information technology (HIT) systems, with a special focus on care management software applications. In addition, the research examines additional applications used by providers, payors, care managers, and others to support care management interventions and patient care. 670 respondents completed the survey.
The overall findings of The 2010 Health Information Technology Survey: How Technology Is Changing the Practice of Case Management report, conducted by TCS Healthcare Technologies (TCS) in conjunction with the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) and the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians, Inc. (ABQAURP), show more work needs to be done to integrate care management workflows into health information technology.
For the first time in 2010, a number of survey questions addressed specifically nurse triage systems. Respondents were asked whether their companies offered a “telephonic nurse triage service.” About 35% answered “yes.”
Another question posed: “Is your triage system integrated/interfaced with your care management or electronic medical record software system?” While about one-third of the respondents (29%) reported positively that triage systems interface with care management or electronic medical record software systems, a large majority of participants (71%) indicated their systems do not integrate or interface with an HIT system. The results point to an emerging market with many opportunities as nurse triage services become a more common offering by health plans, providers and others.
Yet another triage question examined the nurse triage clinical guidelines and protocols used in respondents’ software. Only about 25% of respondents knew the specific triage guidelines used by their system. The findings show most respondents are not fully aware nor do they understand the breadth and scope of the clinical guidelines and protocols used to support triage systems. Perhaps most of the respondents do not actively use their respective triage systems, thereby making it difficult to report which specific clinical guidelines they use.