Effectiveness of senior doctor triage in enhancing emergency room performance

Added June 2, 2020

Citation: Abdulwahid MA, Booth A, Kuczawski M, Mason SM. The impact of senior doctor assessment at triage on emergency department performance measures: systematic review and meta-analysis of comparative studies. Emergency Medicine Journal. 2016 Jul 1;33(7):504-13.

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What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare workers. Placing a senior doctor at triage in emergency departments, compared with single-nurse triage, can be an effective way to enhance a range of performance measures.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for comparative studies on the role of senior doctor triage in emergency departments. They restricted their searches to articles published in English language, and did the search between 1994 and 2014. They included 25 studies, 16 were before and after studies, 2 clinical controlled trials, 3 cohort studies, and 4 randomised controlled trials. 12 studies were conducted in the US, 5 in Australia, 2 in Canada and the UK, and 1 in Hong Kong, Jamaica, Singapore, and Sweden.

What works: Senior doctor triage reduced waiting times, decreased length of stay, and decreased the proportion of patients leaving without being seen or before treatment completion.

What doesn’t work: No clear benefit of senior doctor triage in terms of patient satisfaction or cost effectiveness was identified.

What’s uncertain: Cost effectiveness of this triage model is uncertain.


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