Tuck-In Calls in Primary Care

Does your practice have patients who frequently call over the weekend? Would a decrease in these calls help make the weekend more pleasant for your on-call clinicians? Consider having your nurse triage staff call these patients on Thursdays or Fridays to check in and see if they are having any symptoms, need prescription refills or have other needs.

This practice is called a “tuck-in” call and has been used in some healthcare settings with a reported decrease in weekend calls of up to 65%. Tuck-in calls are also being used by Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and group practices engaged in population health contracts where the practice is “at risk” for the cost of ED visits for issues that could have been handled in the office.

As part of your Thursday or Friday morning staff meeting/huddle, ask your team to identify any patients they are concerned about for the coming weekend. Is there a patient who has called multiple times for advice, or who you just weren’t able to work into the schedule and is waiting to be seen next week? These patients could be potential callers over the weekend. Work as a team to develop the script for these calls, providing a clear and friendly explanation of the purpose of the call to the patient.

When the call is made, use the protocols in ClearTriage to address any symptomatic concerns the patient reports and proactively address any other requests before the office closes for the weekend. You can also send any applicable care advice handouts. Then clearly document the conversation, including any actionable items, in the medical record.

This would also be a great time to remind patients of your preferred/contracted urgent care location in case they need to be seen before the office opens on Monday. Clinicians and office staff can then leave the office on Friday knowing that those patients have been “tucked in” for the weekend. Try it and let us know your results!

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