E-Triage Tool Helps Patient Outcomes

HealthLeaders Media Staff, September 28, 2017

The study showed significant differences in patient priority levels using the e-triage tool.

According to a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, an e-triage tool showed equal or improved identification of patient outcomes compared to the typical emergency severity index (ESI).

Those findings are based on a multisite retrospective study of nearly 173,000 emergency department visits. The study showed significant differences in patient priority levels using e-triage and ESI.

For example, out of the more than 65% of visits triaged to ESI Level 3, e-triage identified about 10%, or more than 14,000, Level 3 patients who may have benefitted from being assigned to a more critical priority level, such as Level 1 or 2.

These patients were at least five times more likely to experience a critical outcome, such as death, admission to the ICU, or emergency surgery, and were two times more likely to be admitted to the hospital.

The e-triage tool was also able to increase the number of patients assigned to a lower priority level, such as Level 4 or 5, to help minimize the occurrence of low-acuity patients waiting and overusing scarce resources.

The e-triage tool uses an algorithm to predict patient outcomes based on a systems engineering approach and advanced machine learning methods to identify relationships between predictive data and patient outcomes. The tool is also designed to provide decision support to clinicians.

E-triage is currently being used at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Howard County General Hospital.

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