HumanInsight Virtual triaging in an eye emergency department during the COVID-19 pandemic
Ir J Med Sci. 2022 Sep 13. doi: 10.1007/s11845-022-03160-1. Online ahead of print.
AIM: The aim of this audit was to assess the effect of new guidelines on virtual triage referrals to an Irish eye emergency department (EED) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
METHODS: A retrospective phone triage referral and clinical note audit was performed to assess outcomes of phone triaging in October. Guidelines for phone triage were formulated with particular regard to what conditions should be seen in EED, treated over the phone or sent straight to outpatients clinic or minor procedures. A prospective phone triage referral and case note audit was then done to assess outcomes after introduction of the guidelines in November.
RESULTS: A total of 1700 patients were referred to the eye emergency department, 861 in October and 839 in November. A total of 577 patients were triaged for in-person EED review in November, compared to 692 prior to implementation of guidelines (p < 0.05). The number of patients referred straight to outpatients (p < 0.05) and treated over the phone (p < 0.05) was also significantly increased. Ultimately, the number of conditions unnecessarily triaged to EED, as per the guidelines implemented, was significantly reduced (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: This audit addressed the need to reduce footfall during the COVID-19 pandemic, identified suitable avenues of referrals for certain conditions, and demonstrated that these guidelines significantly reduced the number of patients presenting to EED with conditions amenable to phone review or clinic follow-up.
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