The Definitive Guide to Selecting a Nurse Advice Line Provider: Part I
Since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, medical providers have been under increased pressure to improve patient outcomes while containing costs. Accordingly, medical providers are now increasingly turning to telehealth providers to assist their organizations serve the medical needs of their patients and families through after hours nurse advice lines as well as other telehealth initiatives.
Leveraging a nurse advice line (NAL) for telephone triage offers a medical practice a valuable opportunity to extend the reach of their practice and enhance the quality of healthcare being offered. If your organization is considering utilizing a nurse advice line, you’ll want to select an experienced partner that can easily incorporate the service on your behalf, and in a manner that is seamless to the patient experience. Ultimately, the vendor you select will be your partner in driving effectiveness and efficiency in remote healthcare delivery for your organization.
If your organization is looking to make healthcare more convenient and cost-effective for patients and doctors alike, chances are a nurse advice line is right for you. Better patient access, improved coordinated care and cost savings round out the benefits, however there are a few key considerations you should ponder before selecting a telehealth partner for a new nurse advice line service.
In this multi-part article series we will detail the key considerations for choosing a nurse advice line using a simple, step-by-step approach. Fonemed created this guide to help healthcare decision makers better understand the benefits of an outsourced nurse advice line as well as provide valuable evaluation criteria for vendors when selecting a partner.
Topics covered in this article series include:
1. Identifying an Experienced Nurse Advice Line Service Provider
2. Detailing Your NAL Requirements and the Scope of Services Needed
3. Nurse Advice Line Service Offerings and Their Expected Benefits
4. Evaluating the Clinical Guidelines and Supporting Technologies Utilized
5. Assessing the Nurse Advice Line Team’s Clinical Qualifications
6. Final Thoughts
Identifying an Experienced Nurse Advice Line Provider
Not all nurse advice lines (NAL) or telephone triage companies are cut from the same cloth.
Furthermore, information found on the web can often be misleading, out of date, or just plain incorrect. You will want to be sure that company you are dealing with is not simply a medical answering service, clinical staffing agency or even a telemarketing company that claims to offer “nurse advice”. Qualifications and licensing are extremely important, not only to ensure patient safety and the quality of care, but to mitigate business risks and legal complications. Accordingly, it is vital to ensure that any company you are evaluating is an established URAC accredited vendor with a proven track record of successfully delivering nurse advice line services.
Next, consider the company’s client base. Who do they work with? Do they have a “one size fits all” approach to their nurse advice service or is their evidence to suggest that they tailor their offering to the client’s needs and patient demographics? Medical practices, home healthcare organizations, pediatric clinics, ACOs and others may utilize a outsourced nurse advice lines to extend coverage and support their patients, however the types of services that they request can, and often do, differ. For example, some healthcare organizations utilize their nurse advice line solely for after hours coverage, whereas others may combine remote monitoring capabilities, wellness coaching, or another complimentary telehealth service depending on their goals.
The breadth and depth of a telehealth vendor’s client base is important, but just as important is the company’s familiarity with healthcare institutions that are similar to yours. By ensuring that a telehealth vendor is familiar with the type of patients you service and can furnish strong referrals from organizations that are similar to yours, you’ll gain greater confidence that they can provide the nurse advice line at service levels you’ll expect.
Continue to next section: Detailing Your NAL Requirements and the Scope of Services Needed.