Senior Streaming Assessment Further Evaluation after Triage zone: a novel model of care encompassing various emergency department throughput measures

Emerg Med Australas. 2012 Aug;24(4):374-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2012.01550.x. Epub 2012 Apr 4.


Objective: Access block (AB) and hospital overcrowding adversely affect ED functionality. ED throughput measures have been described in the literature with positive impacts on key performance indicators (KPIs)--time to first seen, did-not-wait rates, off-stretcher times for ambulances and ED length of stay figures. In this study, we aimed to assess the impact of a new model of care, the Senior Streaming Assessment Further Evaluation after Triage (SAFE-T) zone concept on ED performance indicators and statistical outcomes.

Methods: We implemented a model of care at our tertiary hospital ED amalgamating multiple ED throughput interventions. These interventions included dynamic transition waiting room concept, early senior ED physician assessment and decision-making, early streaming, acute-care bed quarantining and ED short stay and observation units. The principal intervention was the SAFE-T zone. End-point data were compared for similar periods (77 days) of 2010 and 2011 with and without the new model of care.

Results: In total, 11 408 and 11 845 patients were included in the study periods pre- and post-intervention, respectively. Time to physician KPI improved from 72.5% to 84.1%. Did-not-wait rates dropped from 10.7% to 9.6% (P= 0.02) and off-stretcher times for ambulances KPI improved from 74.5% to 79.5% (P < 0.001). ED length of stay dropped most significantly for Australasian Triage Scale categories 3 and 4 (14.3% and 11.8%, P-values <0.001). These results were achieved despite worsened AB and hospital bed-occupancy rates during the intervention period (+3.9% and +6.7%).

Conclusions: The SAFE-T zone model of care involving multiple ED throughput measures achieved improvements in ED performance despite AB and hospital overcrowding.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Crowding
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Organizational
  • Time and Motion Studies