As the demand on GPs’ time continues to rise, it is understandable that many practices view telephone triage and consultations as a way of safely managing increasing demand while also meeting patients’ need for a timely response to their request for healthcare.
The purpose of triage, as described in an article published by Dr Mark Dinwoodie, the Medical Protection Society’s head of member education, is to ensure that the patient is referred to the appropriate clinician for the appropriate level of care within an appropriate period of time.
Often triage is undertaken by experienced nursing staff with the aim of reducing the strain put on GPs time.
However patients will often need to speak to reception staff first who will establish the patient’s assessment of the degree of urgency. Whatever the process, the information given by the patient and the clinician or clinicians needs to be recorded in the same way as a face-to-face consultation is noted.
Call recording is viewed as a vital communications tool in the wake of more and more GP surgeries moving towards telephone triage.
“Ensure that any staff member, including reception staff, document full details of the call in the patient's clinical notes,” wrote Dr Dinwoodie. “Detailed documentation of the telephone assessment is vital. It is important that the medical records include enough detail to justify the proposed management and to demonstrate that appropriate management of the patient’s problem can take place without the need for a face-to-face consultation, where necessary. “
This is where call recording is thoroughly efficient. A call recording solution records all incoming and outgoing calls on selected lines and these electronic sound files can be attached to patients’ records, thus negating the need to update records manually. Furthermore, these recordings can be used as legally accepted evidence in the event of a complaint or claim.
As surgeries are urged to embrace the 24/7 society and to become more accessible to their patients, the use of telephone triage and consultation is likely to increase. Call recording seems to be a necessary accompaniment to help facilitate this service efficiently.
For further advice on call recording for triage purposes, please call our health communications experts today on 01392 369369 or by emailing here