Reply To: Telephone Triage

  • Christopher Williams

    December 4, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    We have a dedicated nurse-led oncology fast track clinic embedded in our outpatient department that takes all the calls through one number and admits patients directly to the clinic versus emergency department. It is staffed 0800-1830 Monday to Saturday and diverts to the in-charge of the inpatient ward after hours. We have adapted the UK telephone triage tool as it is a lot more succinct in advice for families and have embedded it into EPIC. We hope to sumbuit an abstract to next year’s coference on our experience.

    Christopher WilliamsClinical Nurse Consultant/ Educator
    Royal Childrens Hospital Melbourne Australia
    Original Message:
    Sent: 12-04-2019 11:23 AM
    From: Marcia Bettenhausen
    Subject: Telephone Triage

    We struggle as well.  We have a scheduler (scheduling concerns)  and one nurse (RN triage) assigned to the phones and ideally go to the primary oncologist……….​ in all reality it is the RN figuring out urgency and getting whichever provider can respond in the most appropriate time frame.

    Marcia Bettenhausen, BSN,CPHON,RN
    Fargo, ND

    Original Message:
    Sent: 10-02-2019 03:58 PM
    From: Carrie Orlebeke
    Subject: Telephone Triage

    We are looking at ​different models of who triages parent phone calls during clinic hours. Currently our non-urgent calls go to our nurse clinicians for the specific team. All urgent calls (Fever) go to our lead/ outpatient charge nurse. We are finding out that our nurse clinicians are becoming overwhelmed with phone calls during clinic and can slow clinic flow down. We were wondering what other outpatient clinics do to manage their parent phone calls.

    Do you have one dedicated person that takes all parent calls for the day?

    If so, is it the same person every day?

    Is it a RN or MA?

    Do they work normal clinic hours?

    Do they follow the APHON telephone triage guidelines or other telephone guidelines?

    Is there one MD that is assigned to help triage calls with the telephone triage RN or MA? Or does the person go to the primary oncologist of the patient.

    Thank you for your time and feedback. You can also email me at

    Carrie Orlebeke, BSN,RN,BMTCN
    Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
    MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders
    Outpatient RN Supervisor Day Hospital and Clinic
    Milwaukee, WI