As telehealth gains in popularity, it’s even more important for physicians to ensure that their patients receive consistent, accurate advice on every call. When it’s in regard to a patient’s symptoms, nurses are usually the first line of care. In order to determine if those symptoms can either be managed at home, with a primary care physician, or at the Emergency Room, triage nurses need a framework to guide them.
Doctors Barton Schmitt and David Thompson, a pediatric practitioner and an internist respectively, identified this need and developed a series of protocols to address patient symptoms based on severity. They understood that these protocols would allow nurses to function within their scope of practice, and institute a consensus for telephone triage across the healthcare field. Acting as a “decision tree,” Schmitt-Thompson protocols take into account a caller’s reported symptoms, answers to specific questions, and the latest healthcare research.
Today, 95 percent of all medical call centers in North America use these protocols, as do a high volume of health systems and physician offices. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended their use, along with the American Accreditation Health Care Commission and other important organizations. They’ve even helped healthcare organizations reduce their legal liability, as well save on time, money, and employee bandwidth. In short, they’re the gold standard in the most trusted system of remote triage care.
Continuity of Care
In order to have continuity of care, triage nurses need the ability to document their patient calls and the protocols they use. Until recently, most had to rely on bulky, book-based systems that were cumbersome and could lead to delayed service. That’s why TriageLogic developed its own proprietary nurse triage software that’s web-based and easy to learn, especially through the guided training of a call center nurse manager. Any doctor’s office or healthcare organization can implement this platform without experiencing downtime.
The latest version of Schmitt-Thompson protocols now allow for triage nurses to verify a caller’s telehealth eligibility and schedule telehealth visits on behalf of a practice. These protocols can even be customized based on doctors’ orders.
Nurse Triage Services
If your team wants to improve its telehealth and telephone nurse triage, we can help. We offer Schmitt-Thompson protocols for free, nurse triage software that your in-house team can use, and a clinical call center that’s available 24/7 to address your patient callers.