Nurse-led telephone triage is increasingly used to help manage healthcare demand for a variety of medical needs. This has proven to be especially helpful in overcoming barriers to healthcare. Healthcare barriers can include cost, health insurance, time, transportation, and the medical distancing that kept many people away from their providers during the initial phases of the pandemic. NOAH’s Nurse Triage service is helping address these barriers.
Medical telephone triage has been shown to provide safe and effective care with additional benefits of patient and provider satisfaction. It can also help patients avoid expensive medical bills when they go to the emergency department or urgent care facility when they don’t have another option for the care they need.
NOAH (Neighborhood Access Outreach to Health), a community health center nonprofit, launched its Nurse Triage program earlier this fall and recently expanded to seven days per week. This program helps patients navigate their healthcare needs when and where they need it, before stepping foot into a medical facility.
“We are committed to making it easier for all people to get the healthcare they need,” says Jennifer Rosas, MD, Chief Medical Informatics Officer at NOAH. “Offering a free nurse triage line seven days per week increases our patients’ access to care because too often people end up forgoing treatment or end up in the emergency department when one of our nurses can help them with safe and effective care over the phone.”
NOAH has two North Phoenix locations, including its Palomino Health Center and Venado Valley Health Center.
How the Nurse Triage Program Works
NOAH’s telephone triage nurse talks to a patient by phone and asks detailed questions about the patient’s injury, problems, or symptoms. For example, they may suffer a minor injury and want to know what they need to treat it at home. Parents may call because their baby is running a fever and don’t know if they need to see their pediatrician or if they can treat it at home. Additionally, some people call because they want to know when to go to the emergency room.
The Nurse Triage is staffed with registered nurses using medical guidelines to allow them to triage, support, and even follow-up with patients. At the end of the telephone triage encounter the nurse provides a recommendation for level of care (disposition), education (health information), and care advice.
Patients will have peace of mind knowing that they can get advice from a registered nurse. They will also know what to do to manage an illness or injury.
NOAH’s new free Nurse Triage Line service is available seven days a week: Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Triage Hotline is 480-882-4545 and more info can be found at NOAHhelps.org.