The topic of healthcare can be polarizing in the United States, where an estimated 28 million individuals reported having no access to care at any point within the year, according to the 2020 Census. So, it should be no surprise that there is a growing disparity between those with and those without healthcare. Unfortunately, this affects the underserved population at an alarmingly high rate.
To support the underserved and address this disparity, Conduit Health Partners has partnered with Nurse Disrupted to install kiosks inside homeless shelters providing a virtual, nurse-first telehealth solution for individuals in need. While Nurse Disrupted delivers the technology, Conduit Health Partners has provided experienced professional nurses to support this endeavor.
Wisconsin proves there’s hope
Recently, in Madison, Wisconsin, Porchlight men’s homeless shelter adopted this technology, ultimately providing immediate care advice to the shelter’s guests, as well as delivering radical cost-saving benefits to the city.
Historically, individuals experiencing homelessness (of which there are an estimated 2.3 to 3.5 million each year in America) have health issues at the same rate or higher than the general population, with the bulk of these issues including mental illness and burdens of drug and alcohol use, as well as dental and visual impairments. However, these issues go largely untreated without adequate access to healthcare facilities, unless seen in an emergency department.
The overreliance on emergency departments is a costly side effect of not having adequate preventative care and can become a burden on a system not designed for that purpose.
But in Madison, Porchlight has shown that the service provided by Conduit Health Partners, which Nurse Disrupted enables, has demonstrated an 80 percent emergency department avoidance rate. The result is less strain on local first responders and healthcare facilities.
This 81.8% avoidance rate statistic is based on 200 calls handled from April 2022 (when the service launched) through September 2022. Of the 200 callers who used the Nurse Disrupted kiosk inside the shelter, only 18.2% were advised to go to the ED; the other 81.8% were given care advice and instructions to engage with a provider in a less acute timeframe, if at all.
We can make an impact!
For now, the partnership between Conduit Health Partners and Nurse Disrupted is largely focused on Wisconsin’s homeless and underserved populations within the Porchlight men’s shelter and other shelters and community sites working with underserved populations. However, Conduit and Nurse Disrupted are working on plans to expand the virtual care (telehealth) station (or kiosk) solution through more local and national partnerships. Conduit and Nurse Disrupted are able to establish a working virtual care station within four weeks from the moment they engage with a shelter, and have the ability to connect individuals with health needs to a professional nurse staff remotely, 24/7, across 46 states via walk-up kiosks.
Imagine the impact this nurse-driven telehealth solution could have on homeless populations and understaffed and crowded emergency departments across the country.
To schedule a consult with our team to discuss how we can help your organization address health disparities and reduce emergency department overcrowding, please visit us at www.conduithp.com/contact/.