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Team triage improves emergency department efficiency
  1. F Subash,
  2. F Dunn,
  3. B McNicholl,
  4. J Marlow
  1. Emergency Department, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mr B McNicholl
 Emergency Department, Royal Victoria Hospital, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6AB, UK;


Objective: To see whether three hours of combined doctor and nurse triage would lead to earlier medical assessment and treatment and whether this benefit would carry on for the rest of the day when normal triage had resumed.

Method: Eight days were randomly selected; four for team triage and four for the normal nurse led triage. Team triage was coordinated by a middle grade or consultant from 9 am to 12 noon. Times to triage, to see a doctor, radiology, admission, and discharge were recorded. No additional medical or nursing staff were used and staffing levels were similar each day. All patients including blue light emergencies and minor injuries were included.

Results: Median times were significantly reduced (p<0.05) during the intervention to triage (2 min v 7 min, p = 0. 029), to see a doctor (2 min v 32 min, p = 0.029), and to radiology (11.5 min v 44.5 min, p = 0.029). Waiting times at midday were longer for patients in the non-intervention group. More patients were seen and discharged within 20 minutes in the intervention group (18 of 95 (19%) v 2 of 69 (3%) p = 0.0043). No significant knock on effect was demonstrable for the remaining 21 hours after the intervention ceased.

Conclusion: Three hours of combined doctor and nurse triage significantly reduces the time to medical assessment, radiology, and to discharge during the intervention period. Waiting times at midday were shorter in the triage group. There was no significant knock on effect the rest of the day.

  • triage

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