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Nurse Triage and After Hours Care

Offering Better After-Hours Nurse Triage: Improve Service When Your Pediatric Practice is Closed

Running a successful pediatric practice means taking care of patients and maintaining high office morale — all while operating a profitable business. They’re not easy tasks, but they’re worth it to have a positive impact on children’s health. When working with kids, it’s obvious that a solid after-hours plan is a must. After all, sickness doesn’t stop just because your office is closed.

But how are you setting up your practice to meet families’ needs during evening hours, throughout weekends, and on holidays? In this blog, we’ll explore how you can improve your after-hours service. We’ll share three ways after-hours nurse triage provides a better patient experience and a successful workflow for your office. Let’s dive in!

Give Families an Improved Patient Experience

For many parents, waiting feels excruciating when they have a sick child. Whether it includes being sent home from school with a low-grade fever or uncontrollable coughing in the middle of the night, illness disrupts families’ routines and schedules. Sure, most caregivers logically know that they can manage their child’s symptoms at home. In fact, more than 80 percent of after-hours nurse calls are based on parental worry and do not need hands-on care. Therefore, quick reassurance is often the nugget they need, saving everyone a stressful trip to the ER.

That’s why a high-quality nurse triage platform is crucial. With Anytime After-Hours, your patients and their parents get a “nurse first” approach, which means removing a traditional answering service and decreasing wait times. Plus, our nurses answer calls in the name of your pediatric practice. This connection with a real person makes your patients and their parents feel at home — the medical home, that is. Because all of our nurses have five years of ER or pediatric triage experience, they offer families appropriate medical advice, providing that desperately desired reassurance. They’re even able to accept photos or convert the call into a video conference if necessary!

Give On-Call Nurses the Ability to Provide a High-Quality Assessment

To maintain an exceptional patient experience, it’s essential for the on-call nurses to have the tools they need. Because they utilize Barton-Schmitt protocols, our nurses consistently deliver the highest quality, after-hours care over the phone. In about 5-10 percent of triage calls, nurses use telehealth and can actually see the child. Nurses can conduct a video assessment, and they might ask for photos. Visual elements are especially helpful if there’s been a progression of symptoms, like a rash that started out small and expanded across the whole body. Using photos and videos also lowers the number of referrals to the ER.

In addition, the Anytime After-Hours follow-up options are clear and easy for the nurses to understand. These include:

  • Routing immediately to one of your physicians for a virtual visit, with exceptions for peak times
  • Scheduling a next-day follow-up appointment at your office
  • Referring to with another local provider
  • Recommending a trip to the emergency room, although this happens during only 5 percent of calls

Meanwhile, because calls are securely recorded and audited for quality assurance, our nurses receive on-going call review and training. They’re always up to date on policies, procedures, and expectations. Less confusion translates to better care for patients and more revenue for your practice.

Give Your Pediatric Practice Control Over Workflow and Follow-Ups

When it comes to better after-hours care, it’s important that you have the ability to oversee your workflow and routing in the way that works best for your practice. A worthwhile answering service will differentiate between callers who truly need to talk with you immediately and those who can wait until the following day. That’s why we work with you to set up your preferences for patients’ next steps, a strategy that protects your out-of-office time. You have that control because one thing’s for sure: You do not want a team of burnt out clinicians who are always on call and don’t get enough time off.

We also help you adjust during high-volume call times by dynamically adding coverage. Patient calls usually go directly to a nurse, but if there isn’t a nurse available at the time, the caller will leave a voicemail for the nurse to return their call. Only 13 percent of our calls go to voicemail during times of high call volume; however, we do not roll calls to the MDs.

Finally, our platform allows you to download call summaries, triage notes, and dispositions directly into your EMR. This puts real-time documentation at your fingertips, helps you manage your on-call schedule, and allows for stronger continuity of care.

Are you Ready to Switch to Better After-Hours Care?

Would you like more information about how Anytime After Hours provides a better patient experience and a successful workflow for your office? Request a consultation by contacting us today!