This Healthcare Tool Can Empower Staff with Medical Message Intake

By Ravi K. Raheja, MD

The healthcare industry continues to suffer a labor shortage that could have considerable long-term effects, with some estimates showing the United States could have a deficit of 124,000 physicians in the next decade. But finding enough doctors and nurses isn’t the only concern. Practices are also experiencing difficulty maintaining nonclinical staff for their medical message intake. These positions—either at the front desks of practices or in medical call centers—are going unfulfilled due to the demanding nature of their roles. The good news is that technology offers a solution that can entice more people to apply for these positions and train them quickly.

Changes in Healthcare Since COVID-19

It’s no secret that the pandemic took a heavy toll on the healthcare industry. It expedited the transition to telehealth services for many providers, led to widespread physician and nurse burnout, and caused many patients to question their health symptoms and whether or not they should seek in-person care. Furthermore, nurses shifting to higher-paying travel positions also added another layer of complexity to practice staffing issues.

Now, even with COVID-19 considered endemic and many workers getting reaccustomed to in-person care, the healthcare community is still trying to find the resources and staff members needed to maintain or scale their services.

These staffing concerns have trickled down to nonclinical front desk workers who are having to pick up some of the slack involved with patient documentation and medical message intake. They have to be able to help patient callers by relaying messages about their symptoms, as well as assist patients who are physically present for evaluations. However, because they aren’t medically trained, these front desk workers can easily miss symptoms that indicate when these patients’ cases are more severe than they’re letting on. That’s where technology solutions like MedMessage Assist can serve them best.

A Technology Solution for Medical Answering Services

To ensure they don’t miss any details, nonclinical operators such as front desk workers can use MedMessage Assist (MMA) as a real-time symptom-analysis tool when completing their medical message intake. Developed by TriageLogic, this program utilizes augmented intelligence to review the text that workers type while they’re listening to patient callers. When it identifies a symptom that could indicate a more severe condition, it generates follow-up questions to ask the patient. With an accuracy rating of over 99 percent, MMA ensures that when the message is relayed to a triage nurse, it has all the information needed to correctly identify patient concerns as nonurgent, urgent, or emergent.

MMA also establishes a means of streamlining patient calls so that front desk staff members can effectively manage patients, both over the phone and in-person. In turn, this decreases medical malpractice liability, as it avoids the potential for lawsuits like this one, involving a Wisconsin doctor who faced a malpractice lawsuit for not returning the phone call of a patient who later died. Implementing MMA can significantly enhance the overall patient experience and reduce legal risks for healthcare providers.

Finally, MMA empowers nonclinical operators with confidence for handling patient calls, recording accurate messages, and balancing their time with other priorities. This improves employee retention and can also be a hiring perk for future nonclinical applicants. Furthermore, this solution includes self-guided training, which reduces the onboarding period for new operators by up to two weeks.

See How MedMessage Assist Can Work for Your Organization

MedMessage Assist operates as a stand-alone module or can be integrated with existing software in order to improve the accuracy of your practice’s medical message intake. It also comes with high-level cybersecurity and meets all standards of HIPAA-compliance.

Ravi K. Raheja, MD, is the CTO and Medical Director of the TriageLogic Group. Founded in 2007, TriageLogic is a URAC-accredited, physician-led provider of high-quality telehealth services, remote patient monitoring, nurse triage, triage education, and software for telephone medicine. Their comprehensive solutions include integrated mobile access and two-way video capability. The TriageLogic group serves more than nine thousand physicians and covers more than 25 million lives nationwide.