Use of a triage pain protocol in the ED

Am J Emerg Med. 2007 Sep;25(7):791-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2006.12.020.


Purposes: This study was designed to evaluate the ability of a triage pain protocol to improve frequency and time to delivery of analgesia for musculoskeletal injuries in the emergency department (ED).

Basic procedures: Frequency and time to analgesic administration were measured before and after use of a triage pain protocol. The protocol allowed analgesic medications to be given at the time of triage.

Main findings: Time to medication administration was 76 minutes (95% confidence interval [CI], 68-84 minutes) before and 40 minutes (95% CI, 32-47 minutes) after the protocol. Five hundred fifty-nine (70%) of 800 patients received analgesics using the protocol compared with 212 of 471 (45%) patients prior.

Principal conclusions: Use of a triage pain protocol increased the number of patients with musculoskeletal injury who received pain medication in the ED. Use of the protocol also resulted in a decrease in the time to analgesic medication administration.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal System / injuries
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triage / methods*


  • Analgesics