The Definitive Guide to Selecting a Nurse Advice Line Provider: Part II
There a varying reasons why healthcare organizations look to supplement their healthcare delivery efforts with a nurse advice line, but for most, the common denominator is that the service provides an effective and economical means of extending telehealth coverage for a patient population. Medical providers commonly use a nurse advice line service solution to extend healthcare coverage to their patients and their families during times when the facility is closed, extremely busy, or it is simply impractical for a patient to visit. After all, illnesses and injuries don’t just occur during business hours. Nurse advice line capabilities offer a vital link between your patients in times when unplanned non-emergency care is needed.
If you are investigating nurse advice line options for your healthcare organization you and your team are likely considering several of the following questions:
- How do we address our patients’ need to discuss symptoms, realize treatment options and have health and medication questions answered when a PCP is not available?
- Is it possible to offer experienced clinical resources to provide guidance to our patients 24 hours a day and seven days a week without adding more internal resources?
- If we utilize a nurse advice line vendor, what clinical protocols will be followed and decision support tools will be used?
- How can we offer telehealth care options including remote biometric monitoring to our patient community?
- Could we utilize a nurse advice line’s registered nurses to answer routine health questions to address staffing shortfalls and enable physicians to spend more time where they are needed most?
- Can we provide clarity for our patients when they are unsure if they need to visit the doctor or an emergency room?
- Can we do more do to improve health education among our members and their families?
- How do we better support patients that are looking for self-care tips?
- Can we assist patients in finding a specialist, hospital or other in-network facility in a manner that utilizes our resources more effectively?
When evaluating a potential partnership with a telehealth nurse advice line provider, the vendor should be capable of answering questions like these and any others you may have. The combination of your questions and organization’s unique requirements should contribute to the development of a co-authored statement of work (SOW) between the companies involved that defines the scope of services offered and outlines the expected service metrics and conditions.
A nurse advice line service provider effectively becomes your “front door” to your clinical services and represents your organization to the public. Therefore it is important understand the service offering completely as well as the composition and qualifications of the team your patients are interacting with. We’ll deal with these topics next.