What Do Teletriage Nurses Do?
Not all work-related injuries can easily be routed to an onsite clinic for immediate evaluation and care. Some worksites aren’t large enough to support a full-time clinic, or a worker may be injured at a time when their company’s onsite clinic is closed.
In these situations, a teletriage nurse line is used to give the employee access to experienced, skilled evaluation for those times when a traditional employee onsite clinic isn’t available.
What Is a Teletriage Nurse?
A teletriage nurse is a licensed, experienced nurse whose primary job is to talk with injured workers over the phone and, using specialized software, recommend the right level of care to that worker. Their main purpose is to ensure that workers receive the most appropriate treatment suited to their injuries.
Teletriage nurses’ main responsibilities are threefold:
- Evaluate symptoms remotely: Injured workers call the teletriage nurse line before visiting an emergency room or doctor’s office. The teletriage nurse talks with the patient to get a handle on their symptoms and the extent of their injuries, documenting the encounter.
- Assess urgency: Once the nurse has documented the employee’s injuries and had any follow-up questions answered, they determine whether the worker needs emergency care, can wait to be seen by a doctor later or if their injuries can be managed with basic onsite first aid.
- Navigate to appropriate care: After the urgency of the worker’s situation is determined, the teletriage nurse then helps that employee find a provider if necessary. The nurse also forwards notes from the telephone encounter to the healthcare provider in advance of the employee’s arrival to facilitate faster care.
Skills Teletriage Nurses Need
Teletriage nurses provide valuable care navigation for injured workers, and their services help save employers money on unnecessary offsite medical care and claims.
These nurses need a variety of specialized skills, including:
- Clinical expertise: Teletriage nurses must have the education, training and on-the-job experience necessary to skillfully understand a variety of conditions and treatment protocols.
- Communication skills: All encounters teletriage nurses have with workers happen over the phone. They must be able to effectively interact with a variety of individuals over the phone, maintaining an empathetic nature while clearly communicating instructions.
- Decision-making proficiency: While teletriage nurses utilize up-to-date software that’s backed by medical evidence, they still must be able to make swift and accurate decisions when asking follow-up questions and determining the best way to communicate with a caller.
- Technological experience: A teletriage nurse must have higher-than-average computer skills and be able to quickly learn how to use the specialized software they’re asked to use in phone encounters.
Why Teletriage Nurses Are Important
Time is of the essence when it comes to work-related injuries, and teletriage nurses play a critical role in ensuring that injured workers receive prompt, quality care.
Enhanced Care Accessibility and Convenience
Having a permanent onsite clinic isn’t an option for every company, but that doesn’t mean that workers at those companies don’t deserve quality care when they’re injured. Teletriage nurses help to bridge the gap between injured workers and access to the right level of care for their needs, while keeping costs lower for employers.
Because a teletriage service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, individuals who work any shift are able to call an experienced healthcare professional when they’re injured. Teletriage services also are available nationwide, so your workers can have access to the quality care they need even if they’re remote or stationed at a worksite far away from a central office.
Improved Worker Safety and Care Quality
When there isn’t a medical professional available onsite, your employees must determine whether an injured worker should receive offsite medical care. This can lead to negative outcomes, especially if a worker requires offsite care and doesn’t receive it.
By having a skilled nurse at the other end of a phone call, your workers can feel confident they will be sent to the right level of care — emergency room, urgent care or even onsite first aid — to meet their needs. They also will receive this care faster than if they showed up at an emergency room with a less urgent care need, where they would be forced to wait to be seen and evaluated.
Decreased Healthcare and Claims Costs
Providing care for your injured workers is expensive, but it is an important part of running a business. When you only route those workers who truly need offsite care to emergency rooms and urgent care facilities, you’ll see a significant cost savings.
Additionally, workers whose injuries only require basic first aid won’t necessitate a workers’ compensation claim or recordable (something that would be required if they sought immediate offsite care for their injuries). This keeps your claims rates low and reserves that process for those workers whose injuries are more serious.
Your 24/7 Teletriage Solution
At Medcor, we believe in providing exceptional care for injured workers, even when they don’t have access to an onsite clinic. Our 24/7 teletriage services are available anywhere in the nation, allowing you to keep your workers healthy and productive while reducing your healthcare costs. Speak with an advocate today.