Impact on patients triage distribution utilizing the Australasian Triage Scale compared with its predecessor the National Triage Scale

Emerg Med Australas. 2005 Oct-Dec;17(5-6):429-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2005.00773.x.


Objective: To assess the impact of the change from the National Triage Scale (NTS) to the Australasian Triage Scale (ATS) within a hospital ED.

Methods: A retrospective audit of consecutive adult patients attending the ED of Auckland Hospital from July to September 2001, during which patients were triaged according to the NTS, were compared with patients triaged according to the ATS during July to September 2002.

Results: In total, 8715 patients attended the department during July to September 2001 compared with 9047 patients during July to September 2002. There was a significant shift in the triage ratios with patient number increases of 28 and 24% in triage categories two and three, respectively, and decreases of 15 and 67% in categories four and five, respectively.

Conclusions: The revision of the ATS has had a significant impact on the triage distribution of patients who present to ED. The change of distribution might have implications for meeting performance criteria and assessing casemix.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emergency Medicine / instrumentation*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit
  • New Zealand
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Triage / methods*
  • Triage / statistics & numerical data*