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Original Articles
Impact of nonphysician, technology-guided alert level selection on rates of appropriate trauma triage in the United States: a before and after study
Megan E. Harrigan, Pamela A. Boremski, Bryan R. Collier, Allison N. Tegge, Jacob R. Gillen
J Trauma Inj. 2023;36(3):231-241.   Published online September 13, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.20408/jti.2023.0020
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  • 29 Download
AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose
The rates of overtriage and undertriage are critical metrics in trauma care, influenced by the criteria for trauma team activation (TTA) and compliance with these criteria. An analysis of undertriaged patients at a level I trauma center revealed suboptimal compliance with existing criteria. This study was conducted to assess triage patterns after the implementation of compliance-focused process interventions.
Methods
Several workflow changes were made to transform a physician-driven, free-text alert system into a nonphysician, hospital dispatcher–guided system. The latter system employs dropdown menus to maximize compliance with existing TTA criteria. The preintervention period included patients who presented to the level I trauma center between May 12, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The postintervention period incorporated patients who presented from May 12, 2021, through December 31, 2021. We evaluated the rates of appropriate triage, overtriage, and undertriage using the Standardized Trauma Assessment Tool and patient characteristics from the trauma registry. All statistical analyses were conducted with an α level of 0.05.
Results
The patient characteristics were largely comparable between the preintervention and postintervention groups. The new system was associated with improved overall compliance with the existing TTA criteria (from 70.3% to 79.3%, P=0.023) and a decreased rate of undertriage (from 6.0% to 3.2%, P=0.002) at the expense of increasing overtriage (from 46.6% to 57.4%, P<0.001), ultimately decreasing the appropriate triage rate (from 78.4% to 74.6%, P=0.007).
Conclusions
This study assessed an easily implementable workflow change designed to improve compliance with TTA criteria. Improved compliance decreased undertriage rates to below the target threshold of 5%, albeit at the expense of increased overtriage. The observed decrease in appropriate triage despite compliance improvements suggests that the current TTA criteria at this institution are not adequately tailored to optimally balance the minimization of both undertriage and overtriage. This finding underscores the importance of improved compliance in evaluating the efficacy of TTA criteria.
Summary
The Suitability of the CdC field Triage for Korean Trauma Care
Kang Kook Choi, Myung Jin Jang, Min A Lee, Gil Jae Lee, Byungchul Yoo, Youngeun Park, Jung Nam Lee
J Trauma Inj. 2020;33(1):13-17.   Published online March 30, 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.20408/jti.2020.013
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  • 117 Download
  • 3 Citations
AbstractAbstract PDF
Purpose

Accurate and appropriate prehospital field triage is essential for a trauma system. The Korean trauma system (established in 2014) uses the trauma field triage algorithm of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This study evaluated the suitability of the CDC field triage criteria for major trauma cases (injury severity score >15) in Korea.

Methods

This retrospective cohort study evaluated trauma patients who presented at the authors’ regional trauma center from January 1 to May 7, 2017. The undertriage and overtriage rates of each CDC field triage step were calculated. Receiver operating characteristic curves were constructed, and the area under the curve (AUC) was evaluated for each step.

Results

Among the 1,009 enrolled patients, 168 (16.7%) had major trauma. The undertriage/overtriage rates of each step (steps I, II, III, and IV) of CDC field triage were 9.2%/47.4%, 6.3%/50.8%, 4.5%/59.4%, and 5.3%/78.9%, respectively. The AUC values of each CDC triage step were 0.722, 0.783, 0.791, and 0.615, respectively. The AUC values of the separate components of each step (physiologic criteria, anatomic criteria, mechanism-of-injury criteria, and special considerations) were 0.722, 0.648, 0.647, and 0.456, respectively.

Conclusions

The CDC field triage system is acceptable, but not ideal, for Korean trauma care. If we follow the protocol, it would be preferable to omit step IV. The Korean Triage and Acuity Scale may be a good indicator for in-hospital triage. However, a new triage protocol that is simple to estimate on-scene while having good performance should be developed.

Summary

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • Effects of Transport to Trauma Centers on Survival Outcomes Among Severe Trauma Patients in Korea: Nationwide Age-Stratified Analysis
    Hakrim Kim, Kyoung Jun Song, Ki Jeong Hong, Jeong Ho Park, Tae Han Kim, Stephen Gyung Won Lee
    Journal of Korean Medical Science.2024;[Epub]     CrossRef
  • Prehospital triage in emergency medical services system: A scoping review
    Kisook Kim, Booyoung Oh
    International Emergency Nursing.2023; 69: 101293.     CrossRef
  • Assessment of the Suitability of Trauma Triage According to Physiological Criteria in Korea
    Gil Hwan Kim, Jae Hun Kim, Hohyun Kim, Seon Hee Kim, Sung Jin Park, Sang Bong Lee, Chan Ik Park, Dong Yeon Ryu, Kang Ho Lee, Sun Hyun Kim, Na Hyeon Lee, Il Jae Wang
    Journal of Acute Care Surgery.2022; 12(3): 120.     CrossRef
Validation of the Simplified Motor Score for the Triage after Traumatic Brain Injury
Sang Kyong Lee, Hyun Wook Ryoo, Jung Bae Park, Kang Suk Seo, Jae Myung Chung
J Korean Soc Traumatol. 2008;21(2):71-77.
  • 1,376 View
  • 4 Download
AbstractAbstract PDF
PURPOSE
The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), though it is widely used for triage, has been criticized as being unnecessarily complex. Recently, a 3-point Simplified Motor Score (SMS, defined as obeys commands=2; localizes pain=1; withdrawals to pain or worse=0) was developed from the motor component of the GCS and was found to have a similar test performance for triage after traumatic brain injury when compared with the GCS as the criterion standard. The purpose of this study was to validate the SMS.
METHODS
We analyzed the patients who visited Kyungpook National University Hospital emergency center after traumatic brain injury from 2006 January to 2006 June. The test performance of the GCS, its motor component, and SMS relative to three clinically relevant traumatic brain injury outcomes (abnormal brain CT scans, Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS)> or =4, and mortality) were evaluated with areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs).
RESULTS
Of 504 patients included in the analysis, 25.6% had an abnormal brain CT scans, 13.1% had AIS> or = 4, and 5.0% died. The AUCs for the GCS, its motor component, and SMS with respect to the abnormal CT scans were 0.776, 0.715, and 0.716, and respectively, those for AIS> or =4 and mortality, were 0.969, 0.973, and 0.968, and 0.931, 0.909, and 0.909, respectively.
CONCLUSION
The 3-point SMS demonstrated similar test performance when compared with the 15-point GCS score and its motor component for triage after traumatic brain injury in our populations.
Summary
Triage Score as a Predictor of need for Tertiary care Center Transport from Scene by Helicopter
Song Won Song, Jae Chol Yoon, Boo Soo Lee, Woo Joo Kim, Ji Yoon Ahn, Bum Jin Oh, Kyung Su Lim
J Korean Soc Traumatol. 2006;19(2):159-163.
  • 1,193 View
  • 2 Download
AbstractAbstract PDF
PURPOSE
The number of patients transported by the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) has increased recently. In our review of the Korean HEMS, there was no established helicopter utilization criteria or triage tool on the scene, so many patients with minor injuries were transported to tertiary care centers. The aim of this study is to evaluate the percentage of patients with minor injuries and to propose a more appropriate triage tool for predicting the need for transport to a tertiary care center.
METHODS
The subjects of this study were 59 trauma patients transported to Asan Medical Center (AMC) from the scene by Seoul HEMS from January 2004 to December 2005. The Triage score (TS), Injury Severity Score (ISS), and modified Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (mCTAS) were calculated as severity scales. Patients with minor injuries were defined as those with TS=9, ISS< or =15, and mCTAS> or =3. We evaluated the association of TS, ISS, and mCTAS with the appropriateness of transport.
RESULTS
Many of the patients transported to tertiary medical centers were classified as having a minor injury: TS=9 group 35 cases (72.9%), ISS< or =15 group 30 cases (62.5%) and mCTAS> or =3 group 27 cases (56.2%). However, 56.2% (27/59) of the patients were appropriately transported according to need for admission or an operation. The more severely injured patients classified by TS, ISS, and mCTAS were more appropriately transported to a tertiary center (p<0.05).
CONCLUSION
Many patients with minor injuries were transported to a tertiary center from the scene directly. The TS can be easily calculated by an emergency medical technician at the scene. Thus, we propose the TS as a useful triage tool for determining the necessity of transport to a tertiary center by helicopter.
Summary
The Usefulness of Initial Arterial Base Deficit in Trauma Patients
Eun Hun Lee, Jae Young Choi, Young Cheol Choi, Seong Youn Hwang
J Korean Soc Traumatol. 2006;19(1):67-73.
  • 1,081 View
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AbstractAbstract PDF
PURPOSE
The arterial base deficit (BD) has proven to be useful in the evaluation and management of trauma patients. Indicators such as the Triage-Revised Trauma Score (t-RTS) and the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) score have been used as triage tools for emergency trauma patients in Korea. The purpose of this study was to assess the usefulness of the initial BD in predicting injury severity and outcome in the trauma population.
METHODS
The medical records of 308 consecutive trauma patients admitted to the Emergency Center of Masan Samsung Hospital from January 2004 to December 2004 were carefully examined prospectively and retrospectively, and 291 patients were selected as subjects for this research. The SIRS score and the t-RTS were calculated based on the records from the emergency department, and the BD was calculated based on the arterial blood gas analysis obtained within 30 minutes of admission. The efficiency of the three indicators as triage tools was evaluated by using cross tabulations in two - by - two matrices and by using a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.
RESULTS
When the mortality was used as the outcome parameter, the sensitivity and the accuracy of the initial BD were higher than those of the SIRS score (p<0.05) and were same as those of the t-RTS. The areas under the ROC curves of the initial BD, the SIRS score, and the t-RTS were 0.740+/-0.087, 0.696+/-0.082, and 0.871+/-0.072, respectively (95% confidence interval). When emergency operation and blood transfusion requirements were used as outcome parameters, the comparisons of the sensitivities and the accuracies of the initial BD and the other two indicators showed the same pattern as mentioned above. The areas under the ROC curves of the initial BD were 0.7~0.8 and were larger than those of the SIRS score (p<0.05).
CONCLUSION
The ability of the initial BD to predict injury severity and outcome was similar to those of the t- RTS and the SIRS score. Therefore, the authors suggest that the initial BD may be used as an alternative to previous triage tools for trauma patients
Summary
Field Triage of Severely Injured Patients and Transportation by the EMS Rescue Group of Busan and Kyungnam, Korea: Is It Appropriate?
Jong Eon Lim, Seok Ran Yeom, Suck Ju Cho, Sang Kyun Han, Sung Wook Park, Sung Hwa Lee
J Trauma Inj. 2012;25(4):145-151.
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AbstractAbstract PDF
PURPOSE
The objective of this study was to determine the appropriateness of Emergency Medical Service's (EMS's) triage and transport of severely injured patients in Busan and Kyungnam, Korea.
METHODS
The medical records of the Emergency Medical Information Center were retrospectively reviewed from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. We identified the number of patients that should have been transferred from a secondary to a tertiary hospital according to the EMS field triage protocol.
RESULTS
In a total of 472 cases requests to be transferred to a third hospital were made through the Emergency Medical Information Center. Of these, 207 patients(43.9%) should have been transferred to a tertiary hospital according to the EMS field triage protocol. Among them, thirty-three(15.9%) patients satisfied step 1, 15(7.0%) satisfied step 2, and 117(56.5%) satisfied step 3. Twenty-three(11.1%) patients satisfied both steps 1 and 3.
CONCLUSION
We found the triage by the EMS in the transfer of severely injured patients to a tertiary hospital to be inappropriate and re-education of EMS personnel regarding the EMS field triage protocol is needed. Because many patients are transferred from a secondary to a third hospital, we suggest changing the EMS field triage protocol to expand the severe injury criteria. A need exists to authorize secondary hospitals to transfer severely injured patients directly because there are no trauma centers in Korea.
Summary
Measure of Agreement between Prehospital EMS Personnel and Hospital Staffs using Guidelines for Field Triage of Injured Patients
Dae Kon Kim, Ki Jeong Hong, Hyun Noh, Won Pyo Hong, Yu Jin Kim, Sang Do Shin, Ju Ok Park
J Trauma Inj. 2014;27(4):126-132.
  • 1,143 View
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AbstractAbstract PDF
PURPOSE
The field trauma triage for injured patients is essential for trauma care system. In this study, agreement of patient evaluation between by prehospital EMS personnel and by hospital staffs and the appropriateness of prehospital triage were evaluated.
METHODS
This observational study was conducted from September to October 2012 for 5 weeks. During this period, EMT evaluated patient's severity according to guideline for field triage and recorded. Same guideline was applied in 26 hospitals for patients with EMS use. Kappa statistics were used to measure agreement for each item of guideline. Finally, over-triage and under-triage rate of EMT were calculated.
RESULTS
During study period, total 3,106 patients were transferred to 26 hospital emergency departments with EMS use. Kappa statistics for "vital signs" items were 0.45 for mentality lower than V and 0.44 for systolic blood pressure lower than 90 mmHg as a moderate agreement. In "anatomy of injury" items Kappa statistics were very low. In "mechanism of injury" items Kappa statistics were 0.28 for high-rise fall down and 0.27 for high energy traffic accident but in other items Kappa statistics were very low. 362 patients (12.0%) were over-triaged and 281 patients (9.3%) were under-triaged.
CONCLUSION
Field triage can be applied but need to evaluate and modify in order to become accurate and sensitive for decision of transportation.
Summary
Evaluation of the Triage by Emergency Medical Technicians by Using Trauma Score for Occupant Injuries Caused by Motor Vehicle Collisions
Sang Chul Kim, Byung Woo Kim, Yang Ju Tak, Sang Hee Lee
J Trauma Inj. 2013;26(3):89-98.
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  • 4 Download
AbstractAbstract PDF
PURPOSE
The assessment of trauma patients in the prehospital setting is difficult, but appropriate field triage is critical to the prognosis of trauma patients. We sought to evaluate the triage given by the emergency medical technicians (EMTs) using the trauma score to patients injured in motor vehicle collisions (MVCs).
METHODS
From June 2012 to July 2012, questionnaires were distributed to EMTs, who had transported injured patients to the study hospital. Scene records, photos of the damaged vehicle, and ambulance run sheets were used to provide physiologic, physical, and mechanistic information about the MVC. To evaluate the appropriateness of the injury assessment by EMTs, we compared their impressions with the hospital's final diagnosis within a 3 level triage system comprising both the maximum abbreviated injury scale (MAIS) and the injury severity score (ISS). Kappa (k) was calculated to evaluate the agreement between the triage by EMTs and the triage based on hospital's final diagnosis.
RESULTS
A total of 91 patients were analyzed by 31 EMTs. The percentage of males was 57.1%, the mean age was 44.5, and the mean MAIS and ISS were 2.7 and 16.6 respectively. While EMTs correctly diagnosed patient injuries to the extremities in 35.7%, and to the neck in 32.1%, pelvic injuries were missed in 80.0%. The agreement between the triage by the EMTs and the triage based on the hospital's final diagnosis was 62.6%(k=0.366) by the MAIS and 50.5%(k=0.234) by the ISS. The kappa value was higher in EMT-I than in EMT-II.
CONCLUSION
In MVC, the assessment of injured patients by EMT-I was more appropriate, and the 3-level triage method based on the MAIS could contribute to a more accurate triage. Prospective studies to search for appropriate methods of field triage are required for programming practical education for EMTs.
Summary
Relationship of Mean Arterial Pressure with the Adverse Outcomes in Adult Blunt Trauma Patients: Cross-sectional Study
Seung Yong Cha, Yong Hwan Kim, Chong Kun Hong, Jun Ho Lee, Kwang Won Cho, Seong Youn Hwang, Kyoung Yul Lee, Younghwan Lee, Seong Hee Choi
J Trauma Inj. 2013;26(2):39-46.
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AbstractAbstract PDF
PURPOSE
Non-invasive blood pressure measurement is widely used as a pre-hospital triage tool for blunt trauma patients. However, scant data exits for using the mean arterial pressure (MAP), compared to the systolic blood pressure, as a guiding index. The aim of this study was to determine the association between adverse outcomes and mean arterial pressure (MAP) and to exhibit the therapeutic range of the MAP in adult blunt trauma patients.
METHODS
The electronic medical records for all trauma patients in a single hospital from January 2010 to September 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients below 17 years of age, patients with penetrating injuries, and patients with serious head trauma (injuries containing any skull fractures or any intracranial hemorrhages) were excluded. Adverse outcomes were defined as one of the following: death in the Emergency Department (ED), admission via operating theater, admission to the intensive care unit, transfer to another hospital for emergency surgery, or discharge as hopeless.
RESULTS
There were 14,537 patients who met entry criteria. Adverse outcomes occurred for MAPs in range from 90 to 120 mmHg. Adverse outcomes were found, after adjusting for confounding variables, to occur increasingly as the MAP declined below 90 mmHg or rose above 120 mmHg.
CONCLUSION
Not only lower but also higher mean arterial pressure is associated with increased adverse outcomes in adult blunt trauma patients. Thus, patients with a MAP above 120 mmHg should be considered as a special group requiring higher medical attention, just as those with a MAP below 90 mmHg are.
Summary

J Trauma Inj : Journal of Trauma and Injury