- CATEGORIES: Company Videos,Doctors and Hospitals,Improve Your Practice,Nurse Learning Center,Nurses,Short Videos,Technology,Technology for Providers
- No comments
by Trey Marks
Etymologically, the term triage is derivative of the French word trier, meaning “to sort.” By extension, nurse triage is a method of sorting patients. More specifically, nurse triage is a system by which medical patients’ treatments are prioritized by the severity of their medical conditions.
Nurse triage emerged in the early 1800’s as a system for attending to wounded soldiers. Historically, French surgeon Baron Dominique-Jean Larrey is the individual attributed to developing triage as a practice. As Napoleon continuously waged his many wars, Larrey noticed that the system for treating injured soldiers was inefficient. Soldiers were attended to in the order they were brought in: first come, first served. Unfortunately, this resulted in the loss of many lives. Larrey hypothesized that if soldiers were prioritized according to the severity of their condition, maybe lives would be saved. Larrey wrote, “Those who are dangerously wounded should receive the first attention…they who are injured in a less degree may wait until their brethren-in-arms are operated on and dressed, otherwise the latter would not survive.”
Since Larrey’s realization, nurse triage has been utilized in different venues. It was no longer exclusive to the military medical field. Nurse triage began to appear in emergency sectors of hospitals within the U.S. by the early 1900s. It was only in the latter half of the twentieth-century that it became nationally adopted. Nurse triage revolutionized the efficiency of how medical service providers cared for their patients.
In addition, the methods for nurse triage evolved in three stages as technology advanced: (1) the telephone, (2) the computer (3) and the Internet. The first nurse triage call center was established in the late 1960’s. This allowed for a more efficient system of providing faster medical assistance. Then, the mid 1980’s brought about the availability of computerized guidelines and documentation. Finally, Darwinism revealed itself as nurse triage adapted to the Internet Age. The Internet allowed nurse triage to make use of remote nursing agents. As such, it is now possible to apply cloud computing in conjunction with remote nurse triage systems. In addition, integrated call recording and full integration with electronic medical records is a reality.
How does nurse triage actually work? There are five steps in the process.
- An individual calls the nurse triage center requiring medical assistance; the operator then collects the individual’s information and relays it to a triage nurse.
- The caller explains his/her medical history and symptoms to the nurse.
- Upon review, the nurse then selects the applicable protocol and assesses the caller’s symptoms via checklist to determine the appropriate level of care.
- The nurse proceeds to document the call and
- Relays the caller’s information to a physician via fax and/or directly to the EMR.
Today, nurse triage operations are very scientific, which has consequently increased the level of efficiency and more individuals being attended to. The pioneers behind such nurse triage operations are Bart Schmitt, MD and David Thompson, MD. Schmitt-Thompson Clinical Content (STCC) is the main source for telephone triage protocols and symptom decision support in North America. Their symptom-based protocols are used by 90% of all nurse triage centers. They ensure their content is consistently reviewed by renowned doctors and nurses, and that their protocols are kept up to date. STCC protocols permit callers to receive office hours and after house service, allowing for individuals to be assisted.
Nurse triage is not exclusive to the United States. Australia, Canada, France, Venezuela, Ecuador, and the United Kingdom are just some of the countries that have increased medical efficiency by employing triage. Not all countries employ the same nurse triage model as the United States. In Canada and Finland, instead of nurses and physicians, paramedics are sometimes trained to prioritize patients upon entry to emergency centers. Other countries use different protocols and medical emergency priority scales to select which patients are to be attended to first. Despite the differences, triage is making a difference in the medical field internationally.
Attending to patients has never been more efficient, and more lives are being saved because of nurse triage. TriageLogic is one company that is dedicated to ushering in the next generation of triage care. They offer nurse triage support and software to ensure that nurses continually assist patients in the best manner possible. TriageLogic maintains steady research in the triage arena to ensure the latest data regarding nurse triage support is available for nurses and physicians. It is companies like TriageLogic that will continue the evolution of nurse triage. If Baron Dominique-Jean Larrey were alive today, he would be enthralled to see his solution’s evolution.