by Charu G. Raheja, PhD., Chair and CFO
A recent study by the World Health Organization reports that as many as one in ten patients in developed countries is actually harmed while receiving hospital care. In addition, patients often end up in emergency rooms when they could have received care at home and visited their doctor the next day. The costs associated with these unnecessary hospital visits include overloaded emergency rooms, infections acquired in hospital, and lost income for patients.
An important mission for healthcare providers and regulators today is to find better ways to improve overall patient care while at the same time keeping healthcare costs appropriate for the patients' conditions. As healthcare providers, we are constantly seeking ways to combat unnecessary patient admissions to emergency rooms while also making sure that the people who need emergency help receive care right away.
TriageLogic Management was founded with the goal of dramatically improving quality of care, patient safety and outcomes, while also improving the cost-effectiveness of care. For this purpose, we are constantly developing technologies to increase the efficiency of our telephone interaction with our patients. We also take great care in researching and quantifying the benefits of our nurse triage on-call program for our physicians and patients.
Over the past six months we have been surveying patients and analyzing the data on patient outcomes following telephone triage with the goal of assessing and quantifying the benefits of telephone triage. We have found that our Nurse Triage On Call Service™ system is able to save money by decreasing unnecessary emergency room visits while at the same time improving patient care. Of the patients that said that they would have gone to the emergency room, only about 30% ended up having to seek emergency care.
The rest of the patients were able to get home care while offices were closed and see their provider during the following business day. In addition, of the patients that did not think that they needed emergency care, about 10% were actually told to seek emergency care.
Our results show a clear decrease in unnecessary hospitalization and emergency room usage. In addition, it shows improved care because we were better able to appropriate care based on each patient’s condition.
The chart below shows the results of what patients said that they would do if they did not have access to a nurse triage.
What would you do if you had no access to a nurse on call?
1. Stay at home
2. Go to the emergency room
3. Go to an urgent care center
4. Go to a minute clinic