An Emergency Department Experience with Tele-Triage to Manage the Surge of COVID-19 Related Visits

Authors

  • Waddaa Reda King Abdulaziz University
  • Ibtihal M. Alattas King Abdulaziz University
  • Yassar K. Kamal King Abdulaziz University
  • Fahad A. Alzahrani King Abdulaziz University
  • Yousef Aledreesi King Abdulaziz University
  • Sultan A. Alwajeeh Red Sea Research Group

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4197/%20Med.28-1.2

Keywords:

Tele-triage, COVID-19, Telemedicine, Telehealth, Emergency Department overcrowding

Abstract

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then, the number of cases worldwide has increased rapidly, causing panic and leading to an increase in patients visiting emergency departments. A key factor in slowing the transmission of COVID-19 is social distancing through decreasing person-to-person contact. Using a telemedicine technique to score and triage patients according to their symptoms might help to limit unnecessary emergency department visits and decrease the risk of exposure to COVID-19. In Saudi Arabia, the increase in the number of cases has stressed many emergency departments. At King Abdulaziz University Hospital, a tele-triage program was used to screen patients, with the goal of limiting unnecessary visits to the emergency departments for screening or information. Based on self-reported data, a 27% drop in the number of people planning to visit the emergency departments for COVID-19-related complaints was registered in the initial month. Research also suggests that involving telemedicine in routine practice could ease its implementation during a pandemic or disaster. The article describes the program’s rationale, the protocol developed, and the results of statistical analysis of the first month’s data, as well as some of the challenges faced in implementing such a program and in drawing conclusions.

Author Biographies

Waddaa Reda, King Abdulaziz University

Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

Ibtihal M. Alattas, King Abdulaziz University

Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

Yassar K. Kamal, King Abdulaziz University

Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

Fahad A. Alzahrani, King Abdulaziz University

Emergecny Medical Services Unit, King Abdulaziz University Hospital

Yousef Aledreesi, King Abdulaziz University

Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

Sultan A. Alwajeeh, Red Sea Research Group

Research Unit

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Published

2021-06-30

How to Cite

Reda, W. ., Alattas, I., Kamal, Y. ., Alzahrani , F. ., Aledreesi, Y. ., & Alwajeeh , S. . (2021). An Emergency Department Experience with Tele-Triage to Manage the Surge of COVID-19 Related Visits . Journal of King Abdulaziz University - Medical Sciences, 28(1), 11–19. https://doi.org/10.4197/ Med.28-1.2

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Section

Articles