Triage service can reduce use of emergency ambulances

A secondary triaging service for ambulance callouts may divert at least one third of cases. 

In Australia a telephone triage service was set up for people who called an ambulance but were at low risk. The service provided alternatives to dispatching an ambulance, such as a doctor or nurse visiting the home. A review of more than 100,000 people supported over a four year period found that this accounted for 10% of all emergency calls for the ambulance service. Abdominal pain and back issues were the most common reasons for calling. Two thirds of patients were referred to the emergency department, but only 28% went by ambulance. The rest went by themselves or using a non-emergency ambulance. The other third of patients were referred to alternative service providers or given advice about care at home.
Eastwood K, Morgans A, Smith K, Hodgkinson A, Becker G, Stoelwinder J. A novel approach for managing the growing demand for ambulance services by low-acuity patients. Australian Health Review. 2015.



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