Thursday, 8 May 2014

Relieving ambulance services: looking at the effectiveness of using a secondary telephone triage

DEPM's Professor Just Stoelwinder, Kathryn Eastwood and Karen Smith have recently co authored a study which looks at the effectiveness of using a secondary telephone triage to divert low acuity patients to alternative non-ambulance services before ambulance arrival.

According to the study, the demand for ambulance services has been increasing in many countries and is predicted to continue to increase, driven mainly by a disproportionate growth in demand from those with chronic illness, particularly the elderly. A portion of this workload is made up of patients categorised as low priority by primary telephone triage who have no, or minimal, physiological problem, yet still access ambulance resources.

The study found that, while secondary triage of these patients is safe, further research is required to determine its most appropriate structure and its effect on ambulance demand.
Click here to read the full paper.

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