Risks of Telephone Triage
There are risks associated with telephone triage, just as with every other area of health care. Quality health care is always the end product of an involved process. A breakdown in any step along the way will produce an increased risk to the quality of the care delivered and the care received by the patient. The following interventions may be used to avoid unnecessary risks:
Ways to Avoid
|Wrong assessment, decision, or advice||ALWAYS
follow established protocol.
|Incomplete history||Nurse should ask
open-ended questions whenever possible and offer
suggestions that might spur the caller's memory.
|Incomplete assessment||Always address each
possible system involved, including the social situation
surrounding the caller.
Follow guidelines carefully.
Perform a focused assessment of the complaint.
Restate questions if the caller's answer was ambiguous.
|Caller mistrust of telephone program||Nurse should establish an
excellent rapport with the caller immediately in the
The caller must know that their health care is of utmost importance to the telephone nurse.
Always ask the caller if they are comfortable with the topics discussed and the advice given.
|Caller misunderstanding||Ask caller to repeat
instruction when given, and suggest they write them down.
Ask for questions.
|Poor documentation||Document precisely.