Effectiveness of a simple Internet-based disaster triage educational tool directed toward Latin-American EMS providers

Prehosp Emerg Care. Apr-Jun 2005;9(2):227-30. doi: 10.1080/10903120590924555.


Background: A previous survey demonstrated a lack of standardization related to disaster triage among Latin-American providers.

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a short Internet-based educational intervention in disaster and mass-casualty triage. Using three Spanish Internet emergency medical services (EMS) forums, Latin-American providers were invited to participate in the study. The tool consisted of two educational modules: an introduction to disaster triage module and a START (simple triage and rapid treatment) module. Pre- and post-intervention tests were administered, each consisting of five standardized scenarios. Factorial analysis was used to measure the weight of each scenario. The first and fifth scenarios were identical for intraclass correlation. Skill retention was assessed through a one-month follow-up survey. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square and Fisher's exact test. A total of 55 EMS providers participated in the study. Five of 55 (9.1%) participants correctly answered four or more scenarios on the pretest intervention, compared with 53 of 55 (96.4%) on the posttest [p < 0.001, relative risk 10.60 (95% CI 4.59-24.49)]. Similar findings were obtained for those accurately triaging all five scenarios, with zero of 55 (0%) in the pretest compared with 49 of 55 in the posttest (p < 0.001). Follow-up at one month was 69%. Four or more scenarios were correctly answered at follow-up by 34 of 38 (89.5%) respondents. No significant difference was noted compared with the immediate post-course survey (p = 0.18). Although initial ability of the cohort to accurately triage patients was suboptimal, a short Internet-based educational tool significantly impacted the cohort's ability to perform triage in a simulated patient environment. This improvement was maintained after one month.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Disaster Planning / methods
  • Education, Distance / methods*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Educational Status
  • Emergency Medical Services* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Latin America
  • Program Evaluation
  • Triage / organization & administration*
  • Workforce