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Tackling telephone triage with technology

I am surrounded by technology that helps me communicate with the various physician practices that help my family stay healthy.  I have three patient-portal logins, two email accounts, various health apps to triage symptoms and have visited numerous websites to get information about potential medical issues.

However, despite all these readily available options, I still picked up the phone and called my family’s doctors a half dozen times for little things.

I know I’m not alone.

In fact, patients are calling their doctors more than ever. Telephone calls to physician practices have increased an estimated 25-50% over the last five years.

This is a costly trend for healthcare providers, because it means training more staff to handle issues appropriately over the telephone. Missteps can involve liability, and telephone documentation is scarce. The demand for quality telephone triage has created an entire industry around training and guidance.

On the other end of the line, patient expectation and impatience is climbing. Anyone can get instant answers about their kid’s latest school grades, social network updates and finances, but what about healthcare? Physician practices that can efficiently and effectively take their patient’s calls and address their issues up front have an opportunity to create a great experience for their patients.

Rein in phone calls with Keona Health

Finally, there is a promising solution to this issue. Allscripts now has a certified application from Keona Health that is fully integrated with Allscripts Professional EHRTM and Allscripts TouchWorks® EHR. Practices can delegate triage to front desk staff and even to patients themselves, streamlining the entire process and saving valuable time.

Triage guidelines, analytics and clinical decision support help make sure patients answer the right questions before reaching a nurse or physician.  This ensures that the clinician ultimately taking the call has the information and expertise to respond quickly and clearly to the issue.  In fact, a National Institute of Health-sponsored case study found that Keona Health can reduce time spent by nurses and physicians on the phone by a whopping 43%. Additionally, this Allscripts certified solution:

    • Improves patient satisfaction with near instant communication
    • Provides instant guided access for patients on the practice’s website
    • Enables front-desk staff to schedule visits on the patient’s first contact, without phone tag
    • Improves Meaningful Use Stage 2 statistics by sending secure messages, with calendar reminders and relevant education material
    • Reduces liability by automating triage documentation and sending data to the EHR
    • Offers analytics on telephone use, chief complaint trends, patient satisfaction and more

Efficient telephone triage must become the standard of care

As long as the phone remains an important means of communication, physician practices will need to find efficient ways to incorporate it into the patient-doctor relationship and take advantage of all the other opportunities that a solution like Keona Health offers.

Doctors love it:

“Keona is applying an innovative solution to a very costly part of our practice – the patient calling in for advice. We are seeing evidence that their approach improves response time, reduces cost, and increases patient and staff satisfaction. Their service has the potential of becoming the standard of care for phone triage in ambulatory care around the world.

Dr. John Thorp, Chair, Department of OB/GYN, UNC Health Care

Allscripts clients can learn more about Keona Health’s certified patient triage solution during a webinar on November 20 at 1 p.m. Eastern time.  Learn more about this innovative solution on the Allscripts Application Store.

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