Bridging Health Care Disparities: The Role of Nurse-First Triage in Rural Communities

Cheryl Dalton-Norman

For rural residents of America, the challenge of achieving health equity is glaringly evident. Imagine driving two hours through a mountain pass to be near a hospital when contractions begin, or having to travel hours for cancer trials and treatments. These are not isolated incidents but indicative of a broader issue where rural residents face significant health care disparities.

The heart of this challenge lies in timely access to care. In an article with Healthcare Business Today, Cheryl Dalton-Norman, president of Conduit Health Partners, shares how Conduit Health Partners’ Nurse-First triage serves as a beacon of hope for bridging the health equity gap.

The Promise of Nurse-First Triage

In areas where high-speed internet and advanced technologies are scarce commodities, telephone-based nurse triage emerges as a practical solution. This system ensures that every call is met by a registered nurse, cutting out the frustrating delays of administrative redirection. Whether it’s addressing abdominal pain in the dead of night or providing guidance on the next steps for a non-emergent issue, Conduit Health Partners nurse-first approach offers immediate, expert advice tailored to individual needs.

A Lifeline for Rural Communities

Health centers across the nation, including Unity Care NW in Washington and Clackamas Health Centers in Oregon, have harnessed this service to serve over 40,000 individuals, sidestepping unnecessary emergency department visits and attendant costs.

Furthermore, employers are recognizing the value of nurse triage as both a quality-of-care and cost-containment measure. The results are telling: a significant reduction in ED visits, fewer unnecessary hospital admissions, and empowered care teams focusing on inpatient care.

Working Towards Health Equity

Nurse-First triage is not merely a service; it’s a commitment to health equity. By ensuring timely, expert advice irrespective of geographical barriers, we are acknowledging the intrinsic worth of every individual, regardless of where they reside.

If our goal is to uplift vulnerable populations, we must deploy every available resource to provide equitable access to care. Nurse-first triage stands as a testament to this commitment, proving time and again its transformative impact on communities that need it most.

Contact Conduit Health Partners to learn more about solutions like Nurse-First triage that prioritize equity, access and quality for all.

Contact us today to learn how Conduit Health Partners can help your organization.