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Nurse Triage and After Hours Care

Tired of Taking Patient Calls? 3 Ways to Reduce After-Hours Call Volumes

Injuries and illnesses don’t just happen between the typical 9 to 5 office hours. In fact, children can get sick or hurt at all times of the day or night. That often makes practicing pediatrics unpredictable. Someone needs to be able to answer parents’ calls when they find themselves in need of medical advice — even when their child’s doctor’s office is closed. Oftentimes, that responsibility falls to you, the pediatrician within your medical office.

Being a healthcare provider is more than a full-time job; it’s a 24-7 responsibility. Still, when your patients’ parents are calling you after hours, you’re not able to get the rest you need. This makes it difficult to function within the demanding profession of medicine.

However, Anytime Pediatrics has a solution with our virtual platforms! Here are three ways that our after-hours service can help you maintain that coveted work-life balance that’s so crucial to your overall wellbeing!

Evaluate Your Current Medical Exchange

The first step? Before making any changes, you should evaluate your current medical exchange. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time am I spending on weekends and holidays returning after-hours messages?
  • Have I been able to take time away from the office to reset, or am I exhausted from taking patient calls all day and every night?
  • Who is answering the calls when my patients are calling after hours? Are they licensed?

Typically, a traditional medical exchange is staffed by unlicensed personnel who are not qualified to offer medical advice. This means that every message they take will be routed to you. However, you cannot answer calls at all hours and get the rest you require without a delay. These inevitable lags can translate into your patients proceeding to the emergency room or urgent care to have their concerns addressed in what they perceive to be a timely fashion.

It’s important to note that the vast majority of after-hours callers are looking for reassurance and are not dealing with true emergencies. As such, these calls could be triaged by other healthcare professionals. Anytime After Hours nurses can differentiate between callers who are simply searching for reassurance, those who truly need to be routed to the provider on-call, and those who are experiencing symptoms that require emergency services.

Maintain Work-Life Balance with Fewer Patient Calls

Do you find yourself overwhelmed with callbacks when you arrive at your office? For example, perhaps every Monday morning starts chaotically with callbacks to patients who used your current after-hours program and weren’t seen, or need follow-ups or scheduling. We understand the stress this scenario causes.

One of the best ways to maintain work-life balance as a pediatrician is to have an effective and knowledgeable after-hours service that helps you effectively manage that heavy call volume and log. Remember, most families are simply looking for reassurance during evenings, weekends, and holidays. In fact, approximately 80 percent of urgent patient calls can be handled by a nurse on-call.

Our after-hours platform is staffed by licensed professionals who have at least five years of emergency room experience. The Anytime After Hours registered nurses utilize Schmitt-Thompson protocols to triage every call. They’re able to evaluate patients via phone or convert the call to a video visit when needed. If required, they can route calls to on-call partners, schedule a next-day visit with your office, or refer to an urgent care or emergency room appropriately. Your mornings will be less overwhelming with fewer phone calls from patients who contacted your exchange overnight because their concerns were already addressed by an Anytime After Hours healthcare professional.

Expand Your Schedule with Virtual Visits

Is your in-office schedule packed with back-to-back appointments? We understand that the idea of increasing appointment slots when your schedule is already bursting at the seams may be overwhelming. However, telemedicine can actually help you accommodate more patients into your day while utilizing less time and resources than a traditional office visit.

When your patients’ concerns are addressed during the day, they will be less likely to call your medical exchange on nights, weekends, and holidays. Opening telehealth hours allows patients to call in during office hours and request a virtual appointment for evaluation. Common reasons for telehealth visits include:

  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Behavioral health follow-up
  • Sick notice for school
  • Back-to-school note
  • Medication check

Anytime Pediatrics offers workflows where you can choose the schedule, hours, and types of visits that you will provide virtually. Telehealth allows you to maintain ongoing connections with your patients, keeping them in the medical home while reducing your after-hours call volume.

Would you like more information about how Anytime Pediatrics can reduce the stress of patient calls? Request a demo or consultation by contacting us today!