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by Yaneer Bar-Yam
Step IV: Accelerate Intake Routing

This information-based routing system, on the specialist level, serves patients better, and costs less, than patients being sent around to several specialist appointments in order to route them correctly.

An “everywhere and always-on” routing system could be made available instead of the more usual answering services, by primary care providers, provider systems or insurers. Such a system would relieve emergency rooms of having to perform the routing of non-urgent cases, freeing them to focus on the urgent and emergency care they are supposed to be providing. This type of routing system would also relieve some of the burden of PCPs, and shorten patients' wait times for routing and treatment significantly.

It is clear that an accessible and reliable 24/7 accelerated triage mechanism—staffed by intake specialists and augmented by an information-transfer system—will dramatically improve our medical system’s cost-efficiency and ability to serve patients well. Wait time for care will be dramatically reduced, emergency rooms will be put to their proper use, and the burden on primary care providers will be lightened. Augmenting and improving our existing routing system is crucial to improving healthcare quality for all.

Next: Step V: Improve communication.

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