When patients or parents call, practices should have a triage system in place to make sure that patients receive the appropriate level of care (office, emergency room, home care), and are seen in a time frame appropriate for their medical condition (urgently, same day, within a few days).
Approximately 30% of calls received by pediatric practices are for nurse triage. It is very important that office nurses use established protocols when triaging calls, and carefully document each encounter. As most practices use EHRs – nurses needed to document within the patient’s electronic chart. As we know many of our EHRs are labor intensive, and often take longer to complete compared to a simple handwritten note.
Following triage by an office nurse, 57% of patients just need home care advice, 21 % are seen the same day, 16 % are seen within 3 days, 3% are sent to the ED or urgent care, and just 0.1% told to call 911. The remainder are given other dispositions (seen in office within few weeks, call specialist, call dentist, etc.) While this office triage is sometimes time consuming, it is the best method to identify the level of care needed for the child of a concerned parent. This is not only good care, but it also reduces liability of the practice.
Over 6 years ago David Schmitt developed ClearTriage, a web based portal that facilitates the process of triaging patients by medical practices. The system integrates Dr. Bart Schmitt’s telephone triage protocols to expedite the process of triaging office calls as well as documenting recommendations.
ClearTriage is very inexpensive at just $49 per month per concurrent user and was one of my “Best Tech” selections in 2015!
David Schmitt discusses the history behind ClearTriage in part 1 of the video interview and demonstrates its use. Part 2 of the interview presents information about Covid-19 protocols and David’s new product called SymptomScreen. This is a web portal that helps nonclinical office personnel to screen incoming calls to determine if an appointment should be made or the call should be handled by a triage nurse. Great idea, easy to implement and very affordable, and likely to be selected as one of my “Best Tech” selections for 2021!