The use of triage in Danish emergency departments

Dan Med Bull. 2011 Oct;58(10):A4301.


Introduction: The emergency departments (EDs) handle approximately 1,000,000 contacts annually. Danish health care is undergoing reorganization that involves the creation of fewer and larger EDs to handle these contacts. There is therefore a need to prioritize the use of resources to optimize treatment. We thus wanted to investigate if Danish EDs are using triage systems and, if so, which systems they are using.

Material and methods: We performed a cross-sectional study on triage at all EDs in the 20 Danish hospitals that have been designated for emergency care.

Results: The response rate was 100% (n = 20). We found that triage was used at 75% (n = 15) of the EDs. Adaptive process triage (ADAPT) was the most frequently used validated triage system (25% (n = 5)), while 40% (n = 8) used non-validated systems. Triage was performed by nurses at 73% (n = 11) of the EDs using triage.

Conclusion: Triage systems were used in 75% of Danish EDs. ADAPT was the primary triage system in 25% of the EDs, while 40% used non-validated triage systems. An improvement in the quality of health care in Danish EDs may possibly be achieved by implementing validated triage, i.e. ADAPT.

Funding: not relevant.

Trial registration: not relevant.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Triage / statistics & numerical data*