Background: The intensity of emergency services is an increasing health problem all over the world, necessitating an effective triage system. The aim of this study was to evaluate the validity and reliability of the "ANKUTRIAGE" in children.
Methods: This prospective, longitudinal study was carried out at a pediatric emergency department. ANKUTRIAGE, a 5-level computer-aided triage decision support system, was developed. Patients younger than 18 years who do not need emergency intervention, who had complete vital sign measurements, who gave consent for the study, and who were admitted to the emergency service during working hours with trained personnel were included. For validity, agreement between the urgency levels determined by ANKUTRIAGE and the reference triage systems: Pediatric Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale and Emergency Severity Index, was evaluated. In addition, the association of urgency levels with clinical outcomes was studied. To assess reliability, patients were evaluated by 2 blinded healthcare professionals using ANKUTRIAGE and a quadratic weighted κ was estimated.
Results: A total of 1232 children with a median age of 4.00 years were included. ANKUTRIAGE acuity levels significantly correlated with the number of resources used, the number of patients undergoing life-saving procedures, pediatric intensive care unit, and overall hospitalization rates, respectively ( P < 0.001, P < 0.001, P < 0.001, P < 0.001). The agreement of ANKUTRIAGE with Pediatric Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale was found to be 0.94 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.93-0.94), with an Emergency Severity Index of 0.75 (95% CI, 0.70-0.80). The interrater agreement between 2 evaluators who used ANKUTRIAGE reflected as excellent consistency 0.92 (95% CI, 0.89-0.95; κ > 0.8).
Conclusions: ANKUTRIAGE demonstrated high agreement with clinical outcomes and with proven triage systems and reflected high reliability between users. ANKUTRIAGE will enable a more standardized and practical triage, especially in crowded pediatric emergency departments and in situations where triage is performed by health professionals with different experience and professions.
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