Just over one-third of U.S. community hospitals are classified as rural. These acute care hospitals are open to the public and are located outside a federally defined metropolitan area.
Events such as a pandemic, weather-related disaster or other mass health crisis can quickly overwhelm rural hospitals. The American Hospital Association reports that 46% of these facilities have 25 or fewer staffed beds1. At any time, they may be at capacity or unable to offer the specialty care and trauma services a patient requires.
When hospitals use existing nursing staff to manage transfers – nurses who are often already managing high census – it impacts their ability to dedicate their time to their patients. Arranging a patient transfer to a larger hospital takes nurses an average of 42 minutes2 and requires as many as nine phone calls. Within a busy rural hospital, this can have a detrimental impact on staff and patients. It can impact handoff communication exchange and transfer documentation – leading to medical errors. And from a patient perspective, it often leaves them waiting an excruciatingly long time until the clinical staff can arrange for a transfer. It also greatly impacts patient satisfaction scores.
There is a better strategy for rural hospitals
You want to manage patient transfers in the best interests of your patients and the organizations providing their care. A rural hospital may have the ability to send patients needing a higher level of care to an affiliated location. However, most rural hospitals do not have such an alignment; requiring multiple outreaches to coordinate care for patients. This inevitably causes a delay in care and pressure on already limited resources.
How Conduit can help simplify rural patient transfers
Imagine making one phone call to arrange an efficient, appropriate transfer to a hospital where your patient can receive the right care. Your nurses can stay focused on nursing care instead of waiting on hold for information. Your patient doesn’t have to board in the ED for days and receives more timely care.
Through our Patient Transfer Center, we reduce the burden on your staff while expediting and streamlining patient flow across networks. Our experienced nurses serve as an extension of your team and provide a single access point for your staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Conduit Health Partners offers the resources and expertise needed to achieve timesaving patient admissions and improved patient outcomes.