Objective: The aim of this study was to report the utilization and experience of the nurse telephonic triage service for after-hour patient calls in Neurosurgery. Background: It is challenging for patients to reach their clinicians after-hours in a timely manner. This may result in worse health outcomes for the patients, or inappropriate utilization of emergency rooms and urgent care facilities. Physicians continue to remain overwhelmed with frequent after-hours calls in addition to other clinical responsibilities while on-call. Methods: In August 2015, our institution launched the Clinical Advice Service (CAS) to provide a patient-centric, nurse-run telephone triage service for after-hour calls from Neurosurgery patients. Clinical protocols were created for use by CAS staff by Neurosurgery clinicians. Results: Between July 2016 and June 2017, CAS has accepted 1021 after-hours calls from Neurosurgery patients. A total of 71.4% of these calls were clinical, and the remaining nonclinical (directions, appointments, general information). CAS escalated 37.3% of the calls to the on-call Neurosurgery physician; 4.8% Neurosurgery patients were triaged to the emergency room by CAS. Conclusion: CAS has been able to provide well-coordinated care to Neurosurgery patients while reducing physician workload.
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