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Nurse Triage and After Hours Care

Why Implement After-Hours Nurse Triage? Pediatricians Share Their Reasons

By June 12, 2023May 24th, 2024No Comments

It’s clear that telehealth has become a common part of the healthcare landscape. Patients, pediatricians, and the healthcare system as a whole understand the benefits, including convenience, access, and flexibility, just to name a few. Now that video visits are the “new normal,” you might be wondering how else to keep your patients connected to your pediatric practice.

If you’re looking for an effective way to help young patients stay in the medical home, especially during times when your office is closed, a high-quality after-hours triage service is a must! At Anytime Pediatrics, we are proud to offer Anytime After Hours, a platform staffed by knowledgeable registered nurses with ER experience.

Are you currently taking calls during evenings and on weekends – leaving you and your team stressed? Or, perhaps your practice is using an answering service but find it lacking in certain areas? These are common scenarios, so we want to help you upgrade! In this blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of transitioning to Anytime After Hours, while also highlighting real comments from pediatricians who are using the platform.

What are the Most Common Ways to Handle After-Hours Calls?

Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time around children knows that sickness can strike any time. In fact, as a pediatrician, you are well aware that illness likes to rear its ugly head during evenings, weekends, and holidays. That’s why it’s crucial to offer a user-friendly way for families to reach you when your office is closed.

According to data from a recent Anytime Pediatrics survey, pediatric practices are handling after-hours calls in the following three ways.

  1. Pediatricians taking calls themselves. While this method keeps your patients connected to you and allows them to get appropriate medical advice, it means you and your team are highly susceptible to stress and eventual burnout.
  2. Routing requests through the patient portal. Again, patients feel “at home,” but someone from your practice still has to be available to answer messages. Plus, there is almost always significant lag time in responses when using this technology.
  3. Employing an after-hours nursing service. A general after-hours service lacks the pediatric focus and knowledge that your patients and families need. In addition, the national call center average for directing patients to the emergency room is too-high at 14 percent.

For our survey respondents, these options were resulting in slow callback times, unsatisfactory health advice, and complaints from patients’ parents. Practices reported a desire to improve the patient experience, so they switched to Anytime After Hours.

Why Implement a Pediatric-Specific After-Hours Service?

When you onboard the Anytime After Hours nurse triage system, you can rest assured that your patients will be speaking with a licensed professional who has at least five years of emergency room experience. The registered nurses use Schmitt-Thompson protocols to triage every call, so they can appropriately evaluate young patients over the phone. There’s even an option to convert the call to a video visit when needed. This feature is especially helpful for symptoms like skin rashes and eye infections.

Other possible actions include routing patients to on-call partners or scheduling a next-day follow-up at your office. Our nurses refer only 5 percent of patients to the emergency department immediately — an important statistic considering that 80 percent of parents are looking for verbal reassurance, not medical treatment.

What are the Benefits of After-Hours Triage for Patients and Parents?

For the pediatric practices that were aiming to improve the patient experience, we asked if Anytime After Hours helped. Overwhelmingly, the survey responses indicated a resounding yes. According to the survey data, here are the most significant positive changes families have noticed.

  • More thorough screening and medical advice
  • Quicker callback times
  • A user-friendly process for families
  • A reliable option during off hours
  • 24/7 access to pediatric advice
  • Conversation and connection with a real person

Overall, patients and their parents report being satisfied with the after-hours service. Happy patients and caregivers ultimately mean a thriving and growing pediatric practice. When you serve your community well, they are more likely to tell other families about your expert care — and your exceptional customer service.

What are the Benefits of After-Hours Triage for Providers and Practices?

In addition to improving the patient experience, Anytime After Hours has advantages for the operations of your pediatric practice. Our survey respondents reported the following results upon implementing Anytime After Hours.

  • Less burnout and stress for providers, thanks to decreased work on weekends
  • The ability for triage nurses to call for clarifications
  • Detailed triage notes that are easily accessible and downloadable into the EMR; no printing and scanning!
  • Easier, better workflow for staff

When your team feels supported and your processes are efficient, your pediatric practice has a better chance of being a profitable business. Plus, parents notice a difference when your practice is streamlined; there’s less waiting and happier families who are more likely to keep you as their child’s primary care provider.

Improve the Patient Experience with Anytime After Hours

Are you ready to learn more about enhancing your patients’ experiences with high-quality after-hours nurse triage service? Contact Anytime Pediatrics to request a consultation today!