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Emergency Department Attendance after Telephone Triage: A Population-Based Data Linkage Study


Gibson, A and Randall, D and Tran, DT and Byrne, M and Lawler, A and Havard, A and Robinson, M and Jorm, LR, Emergency Department Attendance after Telephone Triage: A Population-Based Data Linkage Study, Health Services Research, 53, (2) pp. 1137-1162. ISSN 0017-9124 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Health Research and Educational Trust

DOI: doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12692


Objective: To investigate compliance with telephone helpline advice to attend an emergency department (ED) and the acuity of patients who presented to ED following a call.

Data Sources/Collection Methods: In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, 2009 2012, all (1.04 million) calls to a telephone triage service, ED presentations, hospital admissions and death registrations, linked using probabilistic data linkage. Study Design. Population-based, observational cohort study measuring ED presentations within 24 hours of a call in patients (1) with dispositions to attend ED (compliance) and (2) low-urgency dispositions (self-referral), triage categories on ED presentation.

Principal Findings: A total of 66.5 percent of patients were compliant with dispositions to attend an ED. A total of 6.2 percent of patients with low-urgency dispositions self-referred to the ED within 24 hours. After age adjustment, healthdirect compliant patients were significantly less likely (7.8 percent) to receive the least urgent ED triage category compared to the general NSW ED population (16.9 percent).

Conclusions: This large population-based data linkage study provides precise estimates of ED attendance following calls to a telephone triage service and details the predictors of ED attendance. Patients who attend an ED compliant with a healthdirect helpline disposition are significantly less likely than the general ED population to receive the lowest urgency triage category on arrival.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Paramedicine
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Lawler, A (Professor Anthony Lawler)
ID Code:132052
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2019-04-17
Last Modified:2019-05-10

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