General practice is embarking on a transformational journey – a journey that is re-evaluating the people. Clinical resources, processes, deployment of those resources and the technology. Not to mention the mechanisms by which engagement with patients is managed.
The key objective of Telephone Triage is to help patients access the right care at the earliest opportunity – and in a way that provides them with flexibility, convenience, security, a sense of ownership and the stimulation to invest in their wellbeing.
There are numerous drivers for this patient centred approach and outcomes will include a more streamlined workload for GPs, ANPs and other members of the clinical teams. The aim to drive further practice efficiencies in terms of access to services and patient satisfaction. It will achieve this by releasing valuable clinical time – GP time and other clinical practitioners.
Frontline staff will also actively manage requests for GP appointments and safely redirect inappropriate GP consultations to the most appropriate care providers
Telephone Triage is an essential patient engagement technique that will further develop the skills and career paths of non-clinical staff – frontline GP practice staff and Care Home staff, who will move away from a passive role and have a more direct impact on patient health outcomes. The skills and abilities needed to undertake telephone triage and the necessary signposting are valuable in other new non-traditional roles such as Document Management, HCA and Care Navigation. After this web workshop, staff will be confident in handling the triage call, in advising and referring patients to care providers who work either within the practice team or to external care providers.
Telephone triage and signposting can present a challenging cultural shift for some teams and individual team members – and we will explore the mechanisms to help make the change as smooth as possible – some of this will build on the existing understanding, within the practice, of the need to change and a realisation of the benefits these changes can have.
Successful telephone triage and safe signposting is reliant on 3 core principles:
- Robust agreed protocols.
- A full commitment from the whole team to support staff in delivering the frontline services.
- Continuing audit of activity and outcomes including complaints and significant or serious incidents.