In 2016, a Midwest hospice provider serving 11 counties over a tristate area found a solution to a staffing crisis that would lead to unexpected benefits.
After losing two afterhours nurses, the leadership’s top priority was finding an afterhours answering service that would provide true comprehensive backup while they worked on filling the open positions. Ideally, that solution would be easy to implement and would connect their patients to immediate clinical support.
What they found was Total Triage with ubeRNurse, and what started out as a staffing crisis soon became an indispensable tool.
The Total Triage Difference:
When it came to handling afterhours calls, the hospice organization previously relied on the support of a hospital network switchboard to connect their callers to an on-call nurse. Though standard practice, channeling calls through an operator created a delay in care and overall caller experience that could be especially stressful for caregivers and their loved ones during times of crisis.
They realized a better solution would be to work with an afterhours service that was qualified to provide RN clinical assistance over the phone. Total Triage’s team of registered nurses did just that, providing skilled, compassionate care from the moment the call was first answered.
In a short time, support from Total Triage went from an interim afterhours solution to a fully integral part of the organization’s patient support solution. Now whenever hospice field nurses are unavailable to take a call, they have the peace of mind that their patients are still getting immediate quality care. With a trusted clinical resource partner, they can focus on providing sensitive situations in the field with the undivided attention they required and deserved.
Refining Internal Processes:
As part of the implementation process, Total Triage works with clients to ensure they can holistically coordinate and communicate overall patient care. This process not only helped define how the two teams would work together, but also enabled the hospice organization to spot areas within their own processes that could be addressed and better refined.
“Total Triage worked with us to ensure seamless continuity of care by customizing their template to coordinate with ours,” stated Rene G., the hospice’s Central Response Team Manager. “Partnering with them necessitated a closer look at our internal protocols and procedures, which ultimately allowed us to put stricter parameters on our processes and improve them overall.”
Rene noted that the hospice’s devoted staff were initially hesitant to put their patients in the hands of another service, even as a backup. But the fact that Total Triage recorded each call, allowing the hospice to personally review the quality of care their patients were receiving, put their minds at ease.
After adopting the full version of the ubeRNurse mobile app, the added ability to record calls internally also spurred a revamping of their own quality assurance processes.
Unexpected Benefits of the ubeRNurse App:
Total Triage’s standard afterhours answering service came with access to the complementary version of the ubeRNurse mobile app. As an unexpected benefit, hospice nurses were able to utilize the application on their own mobile devices to coordinate their availability while out in the field. This allowed them to escalate calls to available nurses, protect their time with patients and caregivers, and mark themselves as unavailable when entering rural areas where cell service was spotty.
Routing, Recording and Reporting Leads to Savings:
Until adopting the full version of the ubeRNurse application, the hospice organization lacked a formal or consistent method for recording and reporting call data for QA, training, and business development purposes. The full-featured ubeRNurse app includes a suite of recording and reporting tools that allowed the hospice leaders to take advantage of a wealth of analytical data to continue refining and improving their processes to further enhance patient care.
Next came other unexpected benefits:
“We found that the more we used the app to coordinate availability between nurses,” said Rene, “the less we needed Total Triage’s services as a backup. Now it’s there for peace of mind in crisis situations.”
By utilizing ubeRNurse, the hospice was able to cut spending on supplementary phone support, realizing a savings of 52%.
The Heart of Compassionate Care:
As a company that had been in business for more than 30 years, this hospice organization naturally experienced a learning curve with adopting a new system and technology, but Total Triage has striven to make it as smooth a transition as possible.
Rene noted that throughout the service implementation process, Total Triage support was quick to respond to and fix any issue that arose. Their main concern, however, wasn’t implementation, but execution. Could Total Triage really deliver their unique brand of care?
“It was a serious concern,” said Rene. “We needed a partner that could represent the heart of our company and keep our close-to-home feel intact. That is really important in our tight-knit community. The compassion and professionalism of Total Triage nurses really put our minds at ease. With the addition to all the other benefits that came with their service, we can’t imagine going back.”