Benefits of Telephone Triage


The benefits of quality telephone health care are plentiful. The service provides a much-needed link for patients who seek information regarding health care. Health care professionals support the benefits provided to the patients, the individual professions, the community, and to the providers themselves. Specific benefits include:

Benefits

Ways to Ensure

Caller Satisfaction Perform telephone assessment in a knowledgeable and compassionate manner.

Listen to parental concerns thoroughly.

Provide careful assessment based on information gathered.

Make recommendations for care based on approved protocols.

Ask for caller's feedback before ending the call.

Cost Following approved protocols, patients save time and money when appropriate access to care is made.

Practitioners/facilities/companies save money when patient care is streamlined during regular office hours and when fewer patients are seen unnecessarily after hours.

Established programs using approved protocols and standards decrease the likelihood of a lawsuit as a result of telephone advice.

Consistent Quality Care Established programs with quality telephone triage decrease the likelihood of missed diagnosis and adverse patient outcomes.
Increased Quality of Life Callers are more comfortable caring for their family or themselves when the stress associated with illness/injury is shared with the telephone nurse.

Patients receive the appropriate level of care in a timely fashion.

  • When home care advice is indicated, their illness and injuries are cared for in an established manner.

Practitioners have time to enjoy their own personal lives, and are comfortable knowing that the nursing team provides quality care for their patients.

Nurses are constantly challenged and rewarded while working in this role.

  • Many report great job satisfaction.
Education Home care: Nurse must consider home environment when recommending care. 
  • Are they at home?
  • Are they calling from a vacation spot?
  • Do they have running water?

Urgent care/primary physician: Nurse may educate caller on home care until follow up care is obtained, and which situations to monitor further.

Urgent care center or ED: Nurse should inform caller of appropriate expectations, such as waiting time, x-rays, etc.

  • Advise parent to bring child's comfort item and distractions (books, toys, etc).
  • Suggest that adult provide for their own needs as well, such as meals, phone numbers, insurance cards, transportation, etc.

Emergent: Call 911 now, what to do for patient while waiting for ambulance, etc.

Instant Feedback:

Appropriate telephone triage can save patient's time and money.
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