Flu Season Means Increased Call Volume – How AccessNurse Can Help

Welcome to autumn, a favorite time of the year for many of us. Autumn means leaves changing, trees glowing, back to school – and getting sick.

The temperature is cooling down, and the flu season is upon us.

With the flu/cold season comes an influx of phone calls from concerned parents with sick kids trying to know whether it’s the cold, flu, or COVID-19.

As so many symptoms overlap between the three viruses, it’s nearly impossible to differentiate which virus could be the cause. This leaves parents, and physicians frustrated and confused when trying to determine the appropriate level of care a child needs.

So what can you do to deal with the increased call volume during the cold/flu season?

Telephone nurse triage can help you manage your influx of calls this cold/flu season.

While the provider rests easy at night, a triage nurse takes care of their patients by providing safe, timely, and compassionate care advice to millions of patients twenty-four hours a day, every day based on the gold standard Schmitt-Thompson triage guidelines.

So how does telephone nurse triage work?

It’s just past midnight, and an exhausted mom sits with her sick kid who’s been waking intermittently since bedtime with an intense cough and a high fever. Despite trying a lot of things, the symptoms seem to be worsening. The mom is confused and frustrated about whether to take her kid to the ER or not.

She calls the doctor’s office or a dedicated number, requiring triage assistance. The call gets forwarded to a non-clinical patient coordinator who collects the patient’s demographic information.

In this case, the patient appears to have potentially serious symptoms of acuity level 1, which will bump the call higher on the call list queue, and the call would immediately go to the triage nurse.

The mom describes her kid’s symptoms to the triage nurse, and the nurse performs the triage based on the gold standard Schmitt-Thompson triage guidelines.

The mom receives home care instructions, as the symptoms did not warrant an ED visit, though she was instructed to call back if the child became worse or had new symptoms, and thanks the triage nurse for being able to provide her guidance.

The patient was satisfied by getting immediate care advice because the nurse triage was implemented to provide 24/7 high quality access to care which leads to improved patient satisfaction.

Read on to learn more about how nurse triage can benefit your practice and your patients during the flu season!

How can nurse triage help you and your practice during this fall season?

With the increased call volume during the flu season, many physicians and the hospital staff are already overworked, and are unable to spend enough time with patients.

Triage nurses are able to give medical advice and direct medical care, which makes things easier for the physician and will lead to improved patient care.

Here are three main reasons of how nurse triage could benefit you:

Always Accessible

With AccessNurse, whether it is a holiday, weekend, or after-hours, our caring registered nurses are available to provide sound clinical advice to your patients.

Many patients who call are concerned and most of them are in need of immediate guidance. Implementing nurse triage and connecting the parent with a skilled triage nurse as soon as they call will help them have peace of mind.

Guidance to the appropriate level of care

There are many instances that a patient calls thinking that they have a medical emergency, when that condition can be handled at home. A nurse triage service can reduce the number of unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office, and costly emergency room visits.

The Schmitt-Thompson protocols, also known as the gold standard, are widely used and accepted, providing guidelines for almost all symptom calls to help nurses give high-quality healthcare advice.

In addition, patients who are calling because of true medical emergencies will be quickly told to seek emergency services.

High-quality patient care

When it comes to nurse triage, AccessNurse saves your patients time and money, and providers are reassured knowing that their patients receive sound care advice when they are not available.

AccessNurse continues to stand united with our healthcare partners to ensure quality patient care. If your organization needs support with nurse triage calls during this fall season, click here to start your journey with AccessNurse.