Medical offices like yours require many vital moving parts in order to deliver a complete patient experience.
From the front desk employees who receive in-office patients to physician assistants, nurses and doctors, it’s all a carefully choreographed movement of gears during business hours. But what happens after hours? For many medical offices, the phones are turned over to a nurse triage answering service.
Finding a Nurse Triage Answering Service Partner
Your nurse triage answering service can’t be just any service, it should be the right answering service for your patients and your office. That means you’ll be investing some time and effort in finding the ideal team, but once you’ve found them your patients and employees will thank you. Keep in mind, the right fit is usually a top answering service that works directly with nurse triage services like yours.
Of course you want to consider things like plan features and pricing, but you should dig a little deeper and ask questions like:
- What is your protocol for handling patient calls? Every nurse triage answering service does things a little bit differently, which is why it’s so important to ask this question. For example, one service may first ask the patient about their symptoms before taking their information down, where another gets all the patient information first.One service may ask the patient to check their temperature multiple times throughout the call, where another will only ask once. It’s important that you choose an answering service that has a protocol compatible with your patient base or one that will operate under a protocol you specify. Having a solid protocol in place is vital for patient safety and consistency in triage handling.
- How are your patient care need levels sorted? One of the most vital roles of a nurse triage answering service is sorting patients into different care level buckets. Some patients will need immediate help and your nurse line is there to help them get it, others can wait for your regular office staff the next morning.But understanding how a potential nurse triage team sorts these callers can help you better determine if they’re a good fit for you. If they immediately call an ambulance for patients who seem to be having severe symptoms and call you for the urgent, but not life-threatening situations, and this is what you’d prefer, it might be a good match.
- When was the last time your team’s training was updated? Nurse triage answering services are a marriage of customer service and medical expertise, requiring a great deal of on-going training. Not only should your nurse line occasionally polish up its customer service skills, it should be keeping on top of the newest HIPAA training since it will be handling sensitive patient information.HIPAA violations, even if you’re not aware your nurse line has made one, can be costly to you. Ask early, ask often about how much training your answering service provides the nurse-operators it keeps on staff.
Hiring a nurse triage service to help with overnight calls, as well as the calls that your staff can’t answer during the busy times of the day, can seriously improve your patient care level and their outcomes. Instead of wondering if they wasted an evening in the emergency room or not going in when they should, each patient who calls can be certain they’re managing their health in the best way possible.