Telephone Triage

SYKES has offered symptom assessment and referral also known as telephone triage to both the private and public sectors in Canada since 1997. With 3 telehealth centres and over 200 registered nurses on staff, our telehealth services are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week through many different electronic channels or by simply dialling 8-1-1 depending on the jurisdiction.   

The benefit of our telephone triage program is that it helps people become more confident in their ability to care for themselves and their loved ones.  Most people when provided with good information and advice will choose a less acute setting in which to be seen. Other documented benefits of the service include the support of large populations where access is an issue or during times of great need as was the case during the H1N1 pandemic. By providing the capacity and scalability of a virtual contact centre we are able to meet highly variable demand across large geographic areas at any time of the day or night and do this in the language of the caller’s choice. This is something that the traditional site-based healthcare system is just not equipped to do.

a table showing that 40% of people planned to go to the ER and only 20% were given that recommendation by Sykes

In fact, almost 40% of the people who use our tele-triage services are provided information on how to take care of themselves at home with less than 20% typically guided to seek more urgent care at a hospital.  

Our service is provided by healthcare professionals and support staff that are available to respond to issues ranging from simple questions about where to find certain resources to complex symptoms that may be signs of significant underlying health problems. Our clinical team has access to evidence-informed electronic decision support with embedded clinical guidelines and health information databases covering a wide variety of healthcare issues.

We provide just in time information and advice over many different channels such as a customer branded self-serve web portal, targeted individualized e-learning programs, text messages, email and regular post.  

Service Features:

  • 24/7 access to healthcare professionals
  • Clinically developed and approved guidelines and health information
    • Schmitt-Thompson clinical content (triage guidelines and care advice)
    • Healthwise®  multi-channel health information, decision support and e-learning
  • Searchable community resource database and referral tracking
  • Electronic decision support,  and customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Highly scalable multichannel information and communications technology
    • Secure data centres with built-in disaster recovery and business continuity
    • World class voice networks to support virtual call routing and recording
    • Web, Interactive voice response and recognition, email, text messaging and chat ready
    • Standards-based integration tools to provide secure real-time messaging to and from targeted electronic health records
  • Bilingual (French and English live answer) with additional translation available in up to 130 languages including over 15 languages of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis
  • Culturally safe practice
  • Near real-time syndromic surveillance supporting public health and emergency measures organizations with automated alerts, text mining, and hypothesis testing capabilities
  • Teletypewriter (TTY) enabled
  • Outcomes evaluation support (self-serve analytics, dashboards, syndromic surveillance with near real-time alerts)