COVID-19 Hotline Screens Patients and Connects Them to Physicians

The governor of New Jersey has decided to offer a COVID-19 hotline in the state to help address the pandemic and the challenges it brings. Implementing emergency support solutions like a 24/7 hotline provides Governor Phil Murphy and his administration the tools they need to help burdened hospitals and identify patients who need further care. New Jersey has equipped themselves with operators to screen callers, and they have an option for automated screening using CDC based guidelines. The operators connect the patients to an NDS physician if further testing and treatment is needed.

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, cities, counties, and states like New Jersey have realized that changes must be made to accommodate the influx of patients that doctors and hospitals see. Considering the challenges that the coronavirus brings, many healthcare organizations have set up COVID-19 hotlines. These hotlines answer frequent questions and screen patients to either direct them to the care they need or reassure them that it’s safe to stay home. Telephone triage companies help these hotlines by screening patients with a fully automated system and sending information about the patients to providers when a further medical visit is appropriate.

The Benefits

Balancing workloads and optimizing time management for doctors and nurses at a time like this is vital for an effective community response. It’s important to understand that parsing or deciphering between sick patients and those who just need reassurance is a big part of navigating this pandemic successfully. Because of this, cities, counties, and states need the capability to screen patients based on established guidelines with trained, non-nurse staff or with a fully automated system.

It’s no secret that many people today prefer to use their smart phones or computers instead of placing a phone call. Many organizations that understand this strive to make systems for screening and information accessible and easy to use. In addition to being user friendly, fully or partly automated phone lines can save countless man-hours and cut costs. Telephone triage lines have seen call volume skyrocket since the onset of the coronavirus, overwhelming call centers and multiplying phone line costs.

With so many callers, calls cannot be taken in real time and caller information is delayed in getting to healthcare providers. A remote patient communication system ensures that pertinent information is collected and relayed to the proper caregiver promptly. The automated system that New Jersey has implemented avoids these extra costs and collects more of the patient information that providers would need to follow up, all while maintaining social distancing.

How it Works

A good telephone triage company will set up a custom screening process in conjunction with the medical director of the organization. The screening process should be client-specific and customizable.

Then a custom screening tool based on the state’s or municipality’s requirements should be built. Users would come to a website and access a link or can call a hotline number to speak to an agent. The patient information as well as the results of their screening should be captured in a HIPAA compliant system.

Users should be sent information based on their questions. The users who need further care should have their information sent to the appropriate physician for follow-up.

Patients who show symptoms of COVID-19 and need testing will need a visit with a telehealth doctor—of the state or municipality’s choosing—to be evaluated further or to get a prescription for testing if indicated.

TriageLogic

Products like TriageLogic use triage protocol and demographic data in compilation with a client-specific algorithm that separates distinct kinds of patients and funnels them through the correct channels to an appropriate provider. The process is concise, saving healthcare organizations the most valuable resource of all: time. 

Making this careful triage easily available to its citizens helps states, like New Jersey, manage the incursion of sick patients they are likely to see or have already seen. A telephone triage system can help support communities by offering the same remote systems that New Jersey has implemented