Thursday, May 21, 2009

 In health care, the promise of first come, first served doesn’t always apply, especially in emergency medicine. In today’s 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill triage and its role in emergency care.

While waiting can sometimes be irritating, triage protocols are used in more and more physician settings, particularly emergency medicine, to make sure patients receive timely and appropriate care.

Triage, originally used in times of war or disaster, is the prioritizing of patients based on the severity of their condition. It is routinely used by physicians and hospitals to best utilize medical resources.

If you go to an emergency department or urgent care clinic, a nurse documents your complaints, assesses your vital signs and symptoms, and then determines the urgency of care required. Certain medical conditions require more immediate medical attention than others.

Triage is even used in physicians’ offices. Appointments are scheduled sooner for those with immediate medical problems. If you call for medical advice, you may be asked to leave a message and wait for a return call. Because of triage, it is very important to take time to accurately describe your symptoms and medical history.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.