In our first blog article in this series we covered On-Call Hub from PQC Tech, an online call management platform that works with ClearTriage to provide an easy-to-use solution for after hours telephone triage services. This is typically our first recommendation for an after hours service looking for their first electronic triage system.
However, if you’re technically-inclined and lean toward DIY solutions, you can instead choose to build your own system for storing and distributing call notes. This blog article will discuss one such solution built quickly and inexpensively using a spreadsheet in Google’s G Suite.
A Case Study
Triage4Pediatrics is a nationally-recognized, nurse-owned company taking after hours triage calls for several hundred pediatricians around the country. Employing dozens of nurses and taking about one hundred thousand calls every year, President and Founder Julie Ortiz knew she needed software to improve the consistency and efficiency of her triage service.
Julie initially contracted with a vendor providing telephone triage software designed for call centers. The cost was more than 10x that of ClearTriage, but Julie thought she needed the functionality they were promising. Unfortunately, after several months of paying them and enduring a complex setup and configuration process, she still didn’t have a solution that her nurses could start using. So she called us.
Julie already had a phone system that worked well. She loved the decision support provided by ClearTriage. She just needed a way to store and distribute patient and call information to the practices she serves. On-Call Hub was not yet available, so after exploring general CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, we realized that a cloud-based office suite like Microsoft Office Online or Google G Suite could be used to do what she needed at an affordable price and with minimal setup. And, importantly, these services can be HIPAA-compliant and will sign business associate agreements with you.
Julie didn’t need a lot of bells and whistles, she just wanted somewhere reliable to store call notes and to share them with her customers. For cost and ease of use, we based her new system on Google’s G Suite. If you’re not familiar with G Suite, think of it as Google’s version of Microsoft Office. We used Google Sheets (the spreadsheet) and Google Drive (cloud document storage).
After Julie signed a BAA with Google, we worked with Triage4Pediatrics to create a spreadsheet template similar to the document in which, at that time, they were manually typing triage notes. This spreadsheet template stores demographics about the patient and the caller. It has a drop-down list of practices and doctors, and once that is selected it fills in information about who is on call and any special instructions for their patients. It also has a field to store the triage note generated by ClearTriage.
When the nurse saves the new template at the end of the call, it automatically creates a PDF with a summary of the call in a folder that is securely shared with the patient’s practice. Rather than starting the morning with paper sheets on the fax machine that need to be scanned into the EHR, the practice can just sign into their shared folder and copy the PDFs into the patients’ charts. And if they aren’t comfortable with that, the documentation can still be sent by fax instead.
We know that this solution isn’t right for everyone. But G Suite is just $12 per user per month. (Users are nurse users, not the practices and clinics who are customers – they can access their shared folder with a free account.) ClearTriage combined with G Suite provides an independent after hours nurse triage service with a very affordable and reliable software solution for their business. Contact us if you want to learn more – we’re happy to share a basic G Suite template with you as a starting point.
Here at ClearTriage we are available to brainstorm ideas for using ClearTriage in your organization. Whether it’s storing the note in your EHR or another system already in place, a simple solution using Office or G Suite, or a more feature-rich solution such as On-Call Hub or Salesforce, we can help identify and clarify your options. And all of these solutions can allow your nursing staff to enjoy the simplicity and power of triaging with ClearTriage.