ENA Study: Accurate Triage is Valid ED Quality Care Indicator

November 28, 2023 Emergency Nurses Association ENA Research

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Nov. 27, 2023) – A new Emergency Nurses Association study indicates a strong correlation between the accuracy of triage for acute myocardial infarction and heart failure patients with the Core Measures against which hospitals are evaluated.

“The Relationship Between Accurate Triage and Core Measures Compliance for Acute Myocardial Infarction and Heart Failure in older Adults Presenting to the Emergency Department,” which is available online through the Journal of Nursing Care Quality website, is the first study to examine triage accuracy in this population as a potential quality indicator.

“The results suggest that the quality of triage has an impact not only on the outcomes for a patient but also on the bottom line of a health care institution,” said ENA Director of Emergency Nursing Research Lisa Wolf, PhD, RN, CEN, FAEN, FAAN, a study co-author.

Wolf and co-author Angelique Russell, MPH, a data analyst at Mednition, reviewed more than 9,600 deidentified HF and AMI patient records through the company’s AI platform KATE. They analyzed patient outcomes based on triage ratings assigned by nurses, which were also calculated by KATE.

The data suggested that when triage accuracy increases, a more accurate and effective care trajectory for patients as well as better compliance with Core Measures for hospitals can follow. Considering the value of triage as a key indicator in patient outcomes and Core Measures compliance can inform hospital decisions, Wolf said.

“This makes a huge shift in the understanding of what nurses do. A triage decision is a summative clinical judgement,” Wolf said. “Nursing is an intellectual endeavor, and triage is not just a checkbox.”

The paper is part of an ongoing project by ENA to identify and establish evidence-based quality indicators that are nurse-sensitive and ED-specific. Another study pertaining to recognition of perinatal risks in triage is forthcoming.

“ED nurses have a significant impact on outcomes, and measuring quality with these indicators will be a vital component of health care improvement,” said ENA Director of Emergency Nursing Practice Excellence Catherine Olson, MSN, RN. “Our project to develop these quality measures is a natural fit for ENA, because it supports the association’s focus on improving quality and safety in emergency nursing practice.”

The Emergency Nurses Association is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With 50,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines and guides emergency health care public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at www.ena.org.

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Dan Campana

Director of Communications