Trial underway to improve efficiency in the Emergency Department

Published On: January 4, 2024

St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital is trialing a new patient queuing process in the Emergency Department (ED). With the new take-a-number system, patients who arrive in the department will take a number from a ticket dispenser machine and wait their turn to meet with a triage nurse. The new process is in response to patient feedback as well as increasing volumes in the department. “We are seeing approximately 1,300 patients in our Emergency Department each week and these numbers continue to rise,” says Amy Fraser, Manager of the ED. “The new system will help to ensure patients meet with the triage nurse for assessment in the order in which they arrived, however there may be occasions when patient presentation/symptoms impact the order in which patients are triaged or reassessed”.

The triage process remains unchanged. When a patient meets with the triage nurse, they are assigned a score according to acuity, risk, and care needs based on their presenting signs and symptoms. This score is aligned with the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) – a tool used nationally and internationally to prioritize patient care requirements, and to ensure the sickest and highest risk patients are seen first.

The take-a-number system will be evaluated over the next three months, and improvements will be made as required.