Intellatriage is a nurse line service that employs registered nurses to handle after-hours triage calls from multiple hospice agencies. You must be a registered nurse because this opportunity is strictly work-at-home and telecommuting — there is no office.
Like any other healthcare telephone job that is working from home, you’ll have to have some things in place to ensure that you comply with federal privacy guidelines. First of all, you have to have an office with a lockable door, even if you live alone. You’ll have to have a quiet work environment and also a secure, high-speed Internet connection. No Wi-Fi — you must be wired into your internet — and for this particular job, you have to have a dedicated IP address for your Internet connection. The dedicated IP address isn’t a normal requirement for many telecommute nursing jobs, but I believe Intellatriage requires it in relation to the special phone system you have to use.
You’ll be issued an office phone that is pre-programmed with the features that you’ll need to do the job. The reason for this is that the service provides telephone triage to many hospices after-hours, and they are broken down into particular groups. Because there are so many clients, there is more than one group at any one time of day, so you log into whatever group you’re covering to route those calls to you directly. Then, when a particular hospice calls you, they will be identified on your phone’s screen so you know which hospice protocol and scripting to use to answer the call.
I know that sounds complicated, but it’s not quite as complicated as it sounds, as far as just being able to use the telephone system. However, because there are so many different hospices, getting to know all of their protocols and the individual charting programs they use can be very complex. It is definitely not something you pick up overnight. But on the good side, you get trained to each hospice so that you can start on a particular group of hospices while you learn the others. This also applies with licensing, as the hospices are in multiple states.
Licensing is one of the biggest pains of this job in getting started. You have many clients within what is called the “compact” state system, where as long as you live in and are licensed in one of the states in the compact, your license is recognized in all of the compact states. But there are several states that they service that you do need to get individual licensing in. The great news is, they will reimburse you for the costs, but you do have to front the expense and it can be pretty pricey.
Once you get that in place, the work is generally after-hours in the evenings, nights, and the full 24 hours on weekends. Basically, nurses cover for each office outside their office hours of 8-5, Monday through Friday. Occasionally, a client will ask to have the phones covered during daytime weekday hours if they have a staff meeting for an extended period of time or a holiday. This coverage is strictly on a volunteer basis for the nurses working with Intellatriage.
Many nurse line and triage jobs utilize different forms of triaging software that you follow when taking a call, but Intellatriage doesn’t do that. Instead, they rely on their nurses being well-versed in hospice care, which is comfort care for those that have been diagnosed as having six months or less to live. This is a specialty area and I would highly recommend that you be very confident with your palliative care skills to consider this kind of job.
You also better be pretty organized to work this job, because you will have to keep straight all the different hospices’ protocols and scripting. I would recommend having a notebook of cheat sheets with the different protocols to flip through. However, when it comes to the scripting on how you answer the phone, I would have one cheat sheet for each group sitting right by your phone so that when you pick up, you have the script right there. Fortunately, all the answering scripts are very short and will all fit on one piece of paper.
Then, as the person is telling you what is going on, you can be going to the protocol cheat sheet for that hospice and pulling up whatever electronic medical software they use. So yes, you better be good with computers as well, because you’re going to have to learn several different software programs for medical charting.
But, if you can learn how to organize yourself, get your licenses all in a row, and find a system that works best for you in keeping all your protocols and scripts straight, this can be a really nice work-at-home job for nurses. I confess that working the overnight shift, I did find that the numbers of hospices I was covering was getting a bit too high and I was with this company during a period of huge growth, which was challenging for everyone. However, that is not typical, so it’s worth giving it a try if you think you might be a good fit for this position.
Because of the nature of the work, things can get very hectic at times, but there were nights when I only had maybe one or two calls for a full eight-hour shift — you really never know. Basically, what you do is you try to talk the patient or family member through the problem over the phone if possible, but if it’s not possible to handle the issue on the phone, then you call one of the local visit nurses on-call for that particular hospice and send that nurse to make a visit.
The after-hours nurses all had different personalities — some were reluctant to go out and make a visit and wanted to “push back,” as we say, and others were a delight to work with. Some didn’t do a very good job of answering their phones after hours, and I had to make multiple attempts or call the agency administrator on call, which I hated doing.
Also know that even though you aren’t doing the visits firsthand, you still do notes and sometimes have to make phone calls to physicians, depending on the protocol of the hospice. And if you’re a nurse, you know how calling physicians in the middle of the night can be.
It’s a pretty sharp learning curve, but it’s good income and if you’re a seasoned hospice nurse, this may be right up your alley.
- No physical office, all training and meetings done by phone or internet
- Nursing license reimbursements
- You’ll never have to make a visit — you send the local nurse
- Great pay for a non “hands-on” nursing position, although lower than facility nurse pay
- Company works with you while you get licenses and learn all the hospices
- Congenial co-workers
- Equipment provided
- Dedicated IP can be expensive
- So many nursing licenses to carry
- Many different client protocols and scripting to learn
- Can be overwhelming at times with multiple calls from frantic family and patients
- No triaging software to utilize — you need strong hospice triage skills