A triage nurse sitting in front of a laptop in a medical office uses a headset to talk with a patient about their symptoms.

What Is Nurse Triage, and How Can It Benefit Your Practice?

Practice efficiency and patient care go hand in hand. One of the key factors that keeps these two in balance is nurse triage. What is nurse triage, and how does it benefit your practice? Below is a high-level overview of this crucial service, and why you should consider outsourcing it.

What Is Nurse Triage?

Nurse triage — specifically, telephone or telehealth nurse triage — is a form of nursing where trained RNs assess the symptoms of patient callers. They determine the severity of those symptoms by using the gold standard of triage protocols developed by Drs. Barton Schmitt and David Thompson. These protocols are essentially a decision tree of yes/no questions that help nurses evaluate the worst-case scenarios that patients may be facing.

In a doctor’s office, nurse triage plays a vital role in managing patient flow and optimizing the use of healthcare resources. When patients call the office to report their medical concerns or to ask questions, triage nurses utilize their clinical expertise, listening skills, and nurse triage protocols to evaluate them. This process includes gathering relevant patient histories, documenting all patient interactions with sophisticated nurse triage software, and using protocols to generate dispositions on the types of care that their patients should seek. 

How Does Nurse Triage Work?

When patients initially call a medical practice, their first points of contact are often nonclinical operators. These operators are tasked with obtaining information from each patient about why they’re calling, before passing it along to triage nurses for review. These nurses will then use that information to evaluate the urgency of each patient’s request so that they call those patients back in the medically established windows of time

By asking targeted questions and employing protocols, triage nurses can quickly determine the nature and severity of their patients’ symptoms. They can then offer immediate guidance to each patient about what types of providers would be able to diagnose them, recommend self-care measures when appropriate, schedule patient appointments, or advise patients to seek emergency care if necessary. This approach not only enhances patient satisfaction by offering convenient access to healthcare advice, but also helps prevent unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital admissions.

Benefits for Your Practice

Implementing nurse triage in your practice can yield numerous benefits for both patients and providers. By efficiently managing patient inquiries and directing them to the appropriate levels of care, nurse triage helps reduce wait times, optimizes provider schedules, and enhances overall practice efficiency. Additionally, by addressing patient concerns promptly and effectively, triage nurses can improve patient outcomes and satisfaction, leading to increased loyalty and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

Nurse triage’s role in minimizing unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations can also be a substantial revenue saver. Their timely guidance and support leads to better utilization of practice resources.

The Best Way to Get Patients to the Right Care

Nurse triage is an invaluable service for medical practices looking to provide high-quality care while optimizing their efficiency and available resources. By leveraging the expertise of trained nurses to assess patient symptoms and guide them to the appropriate care, nurse triage has the ability to enhance your patients’ overall satisfaction, improve their health outcomes, and reduce costs for them and your practice. 

What Is Outsourced Nurse Triage?

Now that we’ve defined nurse triage, it’s important to talk about why you would want to outsource it. 

Our Nurse Triage on Call service includes a clinical call center of registered nurses who are available 24/7 to act as an extension of your practice by evaluating your patient requests. They use the latest versions of Schmitt-Thompson protocols, and document all patient interactions using our flagship software, myTriageChecklist. Similar to the benefits above, we can demonstrate how our services will help you improve patient care while also reducing the associated costs.

Are you ready to see all that this outsourced service can offer? Contact us to learn about a customized program. 

About TriageLogic

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 22,000 physicians and covers over 42 million lives nationwide.

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