Resident-initiated advanced triage effect on emergency department patient flow

Irina Svirsky, Lisa R. Stoneking, Kristi Grall, Matthew Berkman, Uwe Stolz, Farshad Shirazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Emergency Department (ED) overcrowding is a national problem. Initiating orders in triage has been shown to decrease length of stay (LOS), however, nurse, physician assistant, and attending physician advanced triage have all been criticized. Study Objectives: Our primary objective was to show that Emergency Medicine resident-initiated advanced triage shortens patient LOS. Our secondary objective was to evaluate whether or not resident triage decreases the number of patients who left prior to medical screening (LPTMS). Methods: This prospective interventional study was performed in a 42-bed, Level III trauma center, academic ED in the United States, with an annual census of approximately 41,000 patients. A junior or senior Emergency Medicine resident initiated orders on 16 weekdays for 6 h daily on patients presenting to triage. Patients evaluated during the 6-h period on other weekdays served as the control. The study was powered to detect a reduction in LOS of 45 min. Multivariable median regression was used to compare length of stay and Fisher's exact test to compare proportions. Results: There were 1346 patients evaluated in the ED during the intervention time. Regression analysis showed a 37-min decrease in median LOS for patients on intervention days as compared to control days (p = 0.02). The proportion of patients who LPTMS was not statistically different (p = 0.7) for intervention days (96/1346, 7.13%) compared to control days (136/1810, 7.51%). Conclusions: Resident-initiated advanced triage is an effective method to decrease patient LOS, however, our effect size is smaller than predicted and did not significantly affect the percent of patients leaving before medical screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-751
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • advanced triage
  • length of stay
  • patient flow
  • physician triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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