Meeting Canadian emergency department triage and acuity scale benchmarks in a rural emergency department

Can J Rural Med. Summer 2009;14(3):101-4.


Introduction: The Canadian Emergency Department Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) was implemented in 1999. The CTAS aims to more accurately define patients' needs for timely care and provide operating objectives to standardize this care. These objectives are not being met across Ontario. The purpose of this study was to determine if the CTAS benchmarks were being met at a rural emergency department (ED).

Methods: All ED visits to South Huron Hospital from Apr. 1, 2003, to Mar. 31, 2004, were reviewed. The percentage of visits receiving each CTAS category (I-V) was calculated. The median and 90th percentile time to physician initial assessment (PIA) were quantified by CTAS level.

Results: There was a total of 10 286 ED visits with 113 (1.1%) excluded because of missing triage codes. The percentage of visits assigned to CTAS categories I to V was 0.3, 2.4, 16.0, 42.7 and 38.5, respectively. Time to PIA in minutes was 1, 12, 24, 28 and 27 for CTAS I to V, respectively.

Conclusion: The CTAS guidelines for PIA were met at this rural ED.

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Ontario
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rural Health Services / standards*
  • Time Factors
  • Triage / standards*