U.S.' largest 911 triage system celebrates fifth anniversary
The Right Care, Right Now program has triaged more than 62,000 low-acuity 911 calls
By Leila Merrill
WASHINGTON — The largest 911 triage system in the country celebrated its fifth anniversary this week.
The Washington D.C. Fire and EMS Department, in partnership with Global Medical Response, launched the Right Care, Right Now nurse triage line in April 2018. The nurse line provides options for quickly reaching the appropriate level of medical care when calling 911.
Since its inception, the system has triaged over 62,000 low-acuity calls and diverted 25,000 (40%) of those callers to primary and urgent care sites, self-care, mobile urgent care or telehealth. In 2022, that number increased to 43%.
When callers dial 911 for a non-medical emergency, they are transferred to a nurse who will determine an appropriate path for treatment and assist in coordinating care. Nurse navigators are licensed and have professional experience in emergency nursing and are specially trained in the practice of telephone triage.
Once triaged, the nurses can connect callers to clinics, arrange transportation to and from appointments, notify a clinic when a patient is arriving, or connect them directly to telehealth physicians who can provide care and prescribe medication if needed. The service is free for callers and does not require medical insurance to access.