, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 73-78

Prehospital triage, discrepancy in priority-setting between emergency medical dispatch centre and ambulance crews

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Abstract

Background

The timely provision of emergency medical services might be influenced by discrepancies in triage-setting between emergency medical dispatch centre and ambulance crews (ACR) on the scene resulting in overloaded emergency departments (ED) and ambulance activities. The aim of this study was to identify such discrepancies by reviewing ambulance transports within a metropolitan city in the western region of Sweden.

Methods

All data regarding ambulance transports in Gothenburg, Sweden, during a 6-month period were obtained and analyzed by reviewing the available registry.

Results

There was a discrepancy between emergency medical dispatch centre and ACR in priority setting, which may result in a number of unnecessary transports to the hospital with consequent overloading of ED and a negative impact on ambulance availability.

Conclusion

Appropriate ambulance use is one important part of emergency preparedness. Overuse results in decreased emergency medical services (EMS) availability and ED-overcrowding. Several factors, such as an imprecise triage system and increased public demands, may influence such overutilization. Improving the triage system and comprehensive public education on appropriate use of ambulances are two important steps toward a better use of national EMS resources.