A retrospective quality assessment of the 7119 call triage system in Tokyo - telephone triage for non-ambulance cases

J Telemed Telecare. 2014 Jul;20(5):233-238. doi: 10.1177/1357633X14536347. Epub 2014 May 14.


Summary We assessed the accuracy of telephone triage at the 7119 telephone consultation centre in Tokyo. We evaluated walk-in patients at primary care facilities in a clinic or hospital. Nurses asked all patients calling 7119 to join the study and gave them a specific identification number (ID no) at the end of the telephone consultation. The outcome of the consultation was defined as discharge to home (home), admittance to hospital (hospitalization), referral, or transfer to another hospital. After matching consultation records and patient data by ID no, emergency medical physicians reviewed the protocol for problems. During the study, consultation nurses issued an ID no in 17,141 cases, and hospitals and clinics sent back the data on 1205 patients. Among these patients, 1119 cases (93%) were home, 59 cases (5%) were hospitalization, 18 cases (2%) were referral and 9 cases (1%) were transfer. Of the 86 cases which had an outcome of hospitalization, referral or transfer, there were 56 cases with matched patient data. Among these 56 cases, review showed no significant problems with 37 cases. However, there were 11 cases with patient refusal to comply with the triage recommendation, 4 cases with 7119 staff education problems and 4 cases with problems with the protocol itself. We were able to evaluate the 7119 telephone triage system in Tokyo. The study identified three types of problems with the triage process: refusal of telephone triage recommendations, problems with staff education and problems with the protocol itself.