An Advance Triage System

Accid Emerg Nurs. 2002 Jan;10(1):10-6. doi: 10.1054/aaen.2001.0315.


This paper describes the redesign of the triage process in an Emergency Department with the purpose of improving the patient flow and thus increasing patient satisfaction through the reduction of the overall length of stay. The process, Advance Triage, allows the triage nurse to initiate diagnostic protocols for frequently occurring medical problems based on physician-approved algorithms. With staff and physician involvement and medical specialist approval, nine Advance Triage algorithms were developed-abdominal pain, eye trauma, chest pain, gynaecological symptoms, substance abuse, orthopaedic trauma, minor trauma, paediatric fever and paediatric emergent. A comprehensive educational program was provided to the triage nurses and Advance Triage was initiated. A process was established at one year to evaluate the effectiveness of the Advance Triage System. The average length of stay was found to be 46 min less for all patients who were advance triaged with the greatest time-saving of 76 min for patients in the 'Urgent' category. The most significant saving was realized in the patient's length of stay (LOS) after the Emergency Physician assessed them because diagnostic results, available during the initial patient assessment, allowed treatment decisions to be made at that time. Advance Triage utilizes patient waiting time efficiently and increases the nurses' and physicians' job satisfaction.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Canada
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Emergency Nursing / education
  • Emergency Nursing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Program Development / methods
  • Program Evaluation
  • Staff Development / methods
  • Triage / methods*