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Published on February 08, 2011

DeKalb Hospital Activates Team Triage

February 8, 2011

Team Triage is a concept being used by Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb to help improve patient flow in the Emergency Department, reduce wait times, and provide care to patients sooner. Prior to the new process, patients would sign in, be triaged, and remain in the waiting room until a physician became available. With the implementation of Team Triage, patients register, are triaged, and then escorted to a special room to be seen by Team Triage staff.

The team consists of an emergency medicine physician and a nurse who attend to all patients following triage and address chief complaints. The Team Triage physician evaluates patients and determines if further diagnostic testing or medications are needed. This early interaction with a physician allows access to diagnostic exams and treatments much sooner in their visit. With the old, traditional process, patients may have waited hours before seeing an emergency physician, who would then order diagnostic tests. This process allows the doctor to initiate blood work, X-rays or CT, and administer medication during the time someone would have been waiting for an open room—saving all parties involved significant time. Team Triage allows more timely pain control for patients, as well as reduces the total time spent in the ER.  

Since implementing Team Triage in March 2010, the ER at Kish Hospital has seen dramatic improvements in turnaround times. The goal of decreasing the time before patient-to-physician interaction upon entering the ED was achieved. Instead of having patients waiting around, Team Triage is able to start orders and often get test results back by the time the emergency physician in the main treatment area is available to treat the patient. The emergency physicians have a better idea of the patient’s complaints and history prior to entering the patient’s room—a huge benefit for more rapid, effective care. 

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