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Need to go to the emergency department? Call ahead.

Due to emergency care overcrowding, it’s necessary to provide the best care in a timely manor.

Researchers at Sophia Children’s Hospital, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, attempted to validate a computer-based Netherlands Triage System developed for physical triage at emergency departments and telephone triage at general practitioner cooperatives.

First, the details.

  • Nearly 10,000 patients participated in the study.

And, the results.

  • Telephone triage at general practitioner cooperatives revealed a trend towards more emergency department referrals when patients had high Netherlands Triage System urgency levels.
    • There was more self-care advice after telephone consultation when patients met lower Netherlands Triage System urgency levels.
  • The association between Netherlands Triage System urgency and general practitioner advice was less explicit.
    • Similar results were found for children.
    • There was no association between Netherlands Triage System urgency level and general practitioner advice.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “The Netherlands Triage System as single triage system for physical and telephone triage seems feasible.”

Dr. John Kellett, at the Department of Medicine, Nenagh Hospital, in Ireland tells us, “Following… traditional hierarchy delays care with several ‘futile cycles’ of clinical activity thoughtlessly directed at the patient… If acute hospital medicine is to be improved changes in traditional assumptions, attitudes, beliefs and practices are needed.”

5/21/11 22:24 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.