By Ravi K. Raheja, MD
Healthcare organizations benefit greatly when their nurse triage and telehealth services use triage protocol software. This has been shown to decrease unnecessary provider spend and substantially improve patient health outcomes.
Many prefer the Schmitt-Thompson protocols as the best method for dispositions on patient symptoms. Here’s why:
Developed by Doctors
As a pediatrician, Barton Schmitt, MD contributes to office-hours and after-hours protocols focused on child symptoms and severity. He wrote the first book on pediatric telephone triage in 1980, and currently serves as Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He was also the previous medical director for the after-hours call center at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Specializing in internal and emergency medicine, David Thompson, MD contributes to those same protocols by addressing adult symptoms. He’s published several medical articles that focus on patient satisfaction and chief complaint coding. He currently serves part-time with the faculty at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s emergency department.
Updated in Real-Time
Schmitt-Thompson protocols receive regular updates for accuracy and relevance. Typically done by a board of medical professionals on a yearly basis, doctors can submit periodic recommendations for changes as they use them.
Protocols may also undergo updates or additions when an immediate need arises. For instance, some were developed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and are now on their seventh revision. When these changes go into effect, nurse call centers have access to them and can utilize them in conjunction with their triage software.
Daytime and Nighttime Protocols
Schmitt-Thompson protocols have two versions: one to employ during office hours and one for after when there is not an option to send the patient to see their doctor.
Protocols are meant to be used in combination with a nurse’s own expertise. The software with the protocols can be integrated easily with electronic health records (EHR) or other health cloud systems such as Salesforce. This allows telehealth or triage nurses to fully document all patient interactions and synchronize that information directly to a provider’s in-house EHR. The result is a digital paper trail and stronger continuity of care.
Ravi K. Raheja, MD is the CTO and medical director of the TriageLogic Group. Founded in 2007, TriageLogic is a URAC accredited, physician-led provider of high-quality telehealth services, remote patient monitoring, nurse triage, triage education, and software for telephone medicine. Their comprehensive solutions include integrated mobile access and two-way video capability. The TriageLogic group serves over 9,000 physicians and covers over twenty-five million lives nationwide.