Publication | Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal 44:1

ESI Triage Distribution in U.S. Emergency Departments

Nicholas Chmielewski and Jason Moretz

January/March 2022

From the abstract:

The accurate triage of arriving emergency department (ED) patients is a key component of emergency nursing practice. Overtriage assignment of patients misallocates scarce resources in a time of department overcrowding, whereas patient undertriage can create risks for negative patient outcomes secondary to care delays. Limited evidence is available regarding ED triage accuracy.

The purpose of this retrospective observational study was to examine the 2019 triage distribution of 954,847 ED encounters at 25 hospitals. Comparisons were then made with the spreads identified in the ESI Implementation Handbook (2020).

EDs must implement and sustain an ongoing quality control program to achieve and maintain triage inter- and intrarater reliability. It is also imperative that the expected and observed ESI triage distribution in U.S. EDs is updated when established accuracy quality control programs are present.

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