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Nurse Triage and After Hours Care

After-Hours Pediatric Care: 4 Reasons a Nurse Triage System Is Better Than a Medical Answering Service

It’s just past midnight, and an exhausted mom sits with her 6-month-old, who’s been waking intermittently since bedtime with intense coughing spells that sound like a seal barking. Despite trying home remedies, the parent decides that her baby needs medical attention.

 When she calls your office, she speaks with someone from the medical answering service. After giving the child’s information and explaining her concerns, the mom receives a promise that a provider will call back within 30 minutes. Time ticks by slowly with no return call and the baby’s cough worsens, so the mother decides to go to the emergency room.

 The infant gets a diagnosis of bronchiolitis, and Mom receives instructions to continue symptomatic treatment and to contact your office in the morning for a follow-up appointment. As soon as the phone lines open, she calls to schedule a visit. She expresses her frustration that she did not receive a call back with medical advice and that she made what was likely an unnecessary trip to the ER.

Sound familiar? Your medical answering service was activated, but it did not meet the needs of your patient. Anytime Pediatrics has been paying attention and has a solution: After-Hours Nurse Triage. This service benefits both your practice and your patients. Read on to discover four reasons why After-Hours Nurse Triage is better than a medical answering service.

 What is a Medical Answering Service?

Medical answering services are typically staffed by individuals who are not licensed or certified. They also do not have to be familiar with medical terminology or the practice of prioritizing phone calls.

Someone who works for a medical answering service simply takes down pertinent information and forwards the message to the provider on-call. With the proper criteria, the service can be an effective screening tool to determine if a caller needs to speak with you before your office opens the following business day. As a result, it’s a basic solution for medical exchanges.

What are the Benefits of After-Hours Nurse Triage?

You might be wondering, “If a medical answering service can achieve the basic goals of an after-hours exchange at minimal cost, why should I consider the additional expense of nurse triage?” Here are four reasons:

 1. Fewer Barriers to Accessing Advice

Caregivers who call for after-hours pediatric care are concerned and looking for guidance. Implementing an after-hours nurse triage system and connecting the parent with a skilled provider as soon as they call can help reduce anxiety, fear, and panic. This scenario allows parents to provide a better history of present illness, ultimately helping you make a high-quality treatment plan.

 2. Guidance to the Appropriate Level of Care

An individual with clinical expertise, like a registered nurse available through our nurse triage initiative, provides guidance in a timely manner. Thanks to phone and video triage options, nurses are able to route the patient to a provider from your practice or schedule a visit later. In addition, parents who are calling for after-hours pediatric care because of true medical emergencies will be quickly told to seek emergency services.

 3. Confidence in Triage Protocols

With after-hours pediatric care, there are many instances when a caregiver calls with what they perceive to be a medical emergency, but the condition can actually be managed and monitored at home. However, even the best registered nurses are not always proficient in the appropriate treatment for all injuries and illnesses and will require guidance when providing medical advice. The Schmitt-Thompson Nurse Triage Protocols are widely used and accepted for after-hours care, proving to be crucial for a nurse triage system. Using these protocols, which are available through Anytime Pediatrics’ nurse triage initiative, keeps medical advice on a variety of symptoms consistent, especially when your practice has multiple providers.

4. Improved Patient Care

When it comes to after-hours pediatric care, it’s important to differentiate between callers who need to talk with you immediately and those who can wait until the following day. With Anytime Pediatrics’ nurse triage system, you’ll know that your patients’ families are speaking with a registered nurse who’s trained to provide excellent care. This model means your pediatric patients avoid unnecessary and costly emergency room visits. Instead, they stay in the medical home, where exceptional patient care is available — anytime.

 The Anytime Pediatrics after-hours care solution helps your practice stay connected with your patients and their families during evenings, weekends, and holidays. To learn more about the benefits of After-Hours Nurse Triage, contact us today!