Triage Providers | Phone Triage Guidelines
July 27, 2021
Illness and injury do not always recognize a physician’s typical schedule. As a healthcare provider, you cannot staff your office around the clock to be available for those issues that arise in the middle of the night. The solution for your patients and for your team is to enlist a qualified triage provider who will follow established and well researched phone triage guidelines.
More Than an Answering Service
There’s nothing more frustrating for your patients than to call your practice in the middle of the night with a serious health concern, only to be told the service will have to take a message and have someone call them back. Triage providers consist of registered nurses who are qualified to speak with your patients over the phone and evaluate and assess their symptoms immediately. Your patient will not have to wait for a return phone call, a wait which could actually worsen their situation.
Following appropriate phone triage guidelines, the triage nurse will be able to reassure your patients that they are in good hands even in the middle of the night. The triage nurse can answer questions, provide information, and help the patient manage their own symptoms in most cases. Since the nurses are properly trained, they can also advise the proper level of care for your patients’ health and safety.
Communication is Key
The triage nurse communicates with your patients over the phone, so they must have the skills necessary to not only convey instructions but also to listen intently to your patient’s symptoms. When the patient is ill or when they have a family member who is experiencing a medical issue, they may not be very calm or clear in their efforts to convey the details of their situation.
Likewise, the triage nurse must be able to speak clearly and to ensure that the caller understands their instructions. They may advise the patient on how to treat themselves at home, to make a follow-up appointment with your office the next day, or even to go to the emergency room when their injury or illness is especially serious.
A triage nurse assigned to work with your practice will not simply dispense random advice or send your patient to a local hospital for care. They will, instead, follow established protocols that are tailored to your particular needs as a healthcare provider.
Protocols ensure the information provided by the triage providers is consistent and accurate. They also guide the triage nurse through the documentation process, so your practice will have a proper record of the incoming calls, including the details of the patient’s health concern and the advice provided by the nurse.
Benefits for the Patient and the Practice
Triage providers can help your practice by reducing the number of unnecessary phone calls and office appointments. When a patient has a concern after hours, the triage nurse can guide the patient through the steps of self-care, when appropriate. The patient may not have to see you at all, if the symptoms can be managed at home.
Following phone triage guidelines, the nurse can also assist in reducing the number of unnecessary trips to the emergency room. This saves the patient time and money as well. If you have patients who live in rural areas or who are on a fixed budget, they will appreciate the benefit your practice provides of being able to call for medical advice and guidance after your regular office hours.
Triage providers can significantly increase the level of patient satisfaction within your practice. In addition, offering a triage service for your patients, rather than an answering service that simply takes messages, can improve the quality of care your patients receive, promoting the value-based outcomes that are critical for your patients and for your practice.
IntellaTriage Provides the Highest Quality Telephone Triage
At IntellaTriage, our registered nurses triage every call according to the gold standard Schmitt Thompson telephone triage protocols. We have more than a decade of experience providing nurse triage calls and our focus continues to be on providing the highest level of care for clients, no matter the time of day.
Our phone triage nurses, all Registered Nurses, provide sound medical advice for patients concerned about a healthcare issue and we integrate with our providers’ systems to ensure consistent care for those patients. Contact IntellaTriage today for more information about our essential phone triage services.