The media is full of medical tragedies, including disability and morbidity as the result of poor medical intervention. Against such a bleak backdrop, we choose to focus on the many triage success stories we experience every day. Telephone triage is a powerful tool in the medical field, allowing millions of people to receive the care they need.
How Effective Is Telephone Triage?
Telephone triage has been statistically shown to be an effective medical innovation. In our fast-paced modern world, virtual and telephone triage are vital components of holistic healthcare services. Research indicates that approximately 46% of consumers use some form of telehealth to address their medical needs. Telephone triage makes much of that possible.
Telephone triage shares many principles and the basic premise of in-person triage nursing, to organize patients so as many as possible receive the care with the necessary immediacy. They evaluate symptoms such as fever, coughing, and localized pain and make appropriate and safe care recommendations based on established guidelines, all over the phone.
This remote system—administered from emergency departments, healthcare call centers, urgent care centers, specific triage centers, and other medical facilities—introduces many challenges but also helps patients who do not have the opportunity to come into healthcare facilities readily to get the care they need. The very nature of the process makes triage success stories even more impressive.
A Day in the Life of a Telephone Triage Nurse: A Glimpse at a Few Triage Success Stories
Telephone triage is something of a wildcard. Nurses can never know what to expect. Sometimes the surprises require immediate medical attention, but sometimes interactions with patients can be unexpectedly funny. Those calls that do not result in emergency care can end in mutual chuckling at a misunderstanding or by sharing too much information. No matter their outcome, triage calls usually lead to a smile because people need to feel like their concerns are heard and addressed.
Triage success stories can be as simple as a father hoping to quiet a fussing child in the night learning the symptoms and treatment of croup. Triage nurses can help panicked parents find an immediate solution when their child is in the throes of a medical emergency.
Meaningful triage can help patients determine more significant issues, including learning about more serious underlying health problems or incidents of domestic abuse. One nurse discovered that their caller suffered from serious psychiatric concerns, and all from a call about a minor rash. Triage success stories such as these allow patients to receive care they may not even know they need.
What Are the Challenges of Telephone Triage?
Unfortunately, triage success stories are mingled with those of failure too. The practice has its own challenges. When telephone triage is handled in a medical facility, triage calls can sometimes take a back seat to patients in the building. Patients on the phone may not appreciate being put on hold, and the extra wait can prove problematic for patients who need immediate care.
Triage is made difficult when there is inefficient interaction on the call. Sometimes callers provide insufficient and unreal information. There is even the possibility, unfortunately common, that prank callers take up valuable time.
Even when calls are genuine, the nature of telephone triage itself can make successful interactions difficult. It is a telephone triage nurse’s responsibility to quickly and accurately assess the caller’s condition, all without actually seeing, smelling, or touching the patient. Professionally, this can prove very challenging, and not all nurses are up to the task.
What We Do at CareXM
At CareXM, we provide a staff of qualified telephone triage nurses that are fully prepared to handle the calls they receive. Both our clinical nurses and non-clinical healthcare professionals are trained and HIPAA compliant, assisting patients and healthcare facilities alike at any hour of the day through the most advanced virtual health technology on the market. We provide quality-oriented telephone triage partnered with outstanding customer service so that our callers know they are being taken care of.
We value the safety and wellbeing of our callers as our highest priority. Our goal is for our patients to walk away from their experiences with triage success stories of their own. To that end, our professionals listen to each call thoroughly, assess current symptoms and signs in conjunction with medical history, and recommend the proper course to receive care. We adhere strictly to established telephone triage protocols to ensure that our patients receive the best possible care.