Nursing

News Spotlight: Telephone nurse triage system improves Texas hospital emergency room

Nurse Leader Insider, November 9, 2009

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In July 2009, Midland Memorial Hospital (MMH), in Midland, TX, went live with a telephone nursing triage system meant to reduce the number of improper emergency room visits by 72%. Since that time, MMH has experience 4,700 calls, or an average of four calls an hour, and directed 65% of those calls to another source, such as a clinic. This greatly improved admission times and faster door-to-doctor times as well.

The system, which cost $150,000 to set up, will average $15,000 a year to manage. The telephone line, 68-NURSE, is available 24 hours a day and has five to six providers available to answer questions from callers. Specific criteria are used to determine whether the caller should come to the emergency department (ED) or be referred somewhere else. If the nurse feels the caller should come into the ED, any information given on the phone is faxed over to the main or west campus ED.

Since the flu season began, the system has seen the number of calls double, averaging 100 to120 phone calls a day, and 160 ED visits from patients who called the 68-NURSE line. On average, the system normally receives 60 calls a day, and 100-110 ER visits.

Source: My West Texas News



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