Triage Techniques: A Case Study

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The major objective of this research project was to assist the telephone operator in the decision making process to the problem of identifying the appropriate level of urgency and type of health care required in requests on the initial emergency call center. This problem, which is usually referred to as the prehospital telephone triage process, is enormously important in terms of maximizing the critically injured patient's chances for survival.

There are several triage systems worldwide used, (e.g., Australasian Triage Scale (ATS), the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS), the Manchester Triage Scale (MTS), the Emergency Severity Index (ESI) and others). All of these triage procedure yields rapid, reproducible, and clinically relevant stratification of patients into groups, from the most urgent to the least urgent level.

Triage decisions are often made with limited objective
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These techniques have been used in medical research for many years and have been known to be effective. In order to solve such problems as long-waiting time, congestion, and delayed patient care, faced by emergency departments (Ha 2010). In a similar way as occurs in decision tree method, information gain approach is generally used to determine suitable property for each node of a generated decision tree, we suggest the next symtom to ask based on those with the highest information gain (entropy reduction in the level of maximum). In this way, the information needed by the operator to select the triage level for a call will be the smallest as posible. Here the triage decision will continue to be made by people, not computers. But the use of such an information theory approach will effectively reduce the required numbers of questions and increase de certainty of the decision

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