MAHC implements new triage process at hospital emergency departments



The Emergency Departments at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) have joined the growing list of Ontario hospitals adopting the new provincial electronic Canadian Triage & Acuity Scale (CTAS) system, more commonly referred to as ‘eCTAS’.

The acuity scale is a system used nationwide that prioritizes patient care by severity of illness or injury. When patients arrive at triage, a Registered Nurse begins their assessment by taking their vital signs, listens to their care episode story and then applies a CTAS level. The CTAS score is used throughout all hospitals to help determine how quickly a patient should be seen by the nursing staff and the Emergency Dept. physician. With MAHC’s adoption of eCTAS, our Emergency Department triage nurse’s knowledge, skills and clinical experience are further supported and standardized by a provincial CTAS scale based on objective data points captured during the triage process.

“Nothing changes for the patient except confidence in knowing that the triage score is standardized and therefore would be the same if the patient presented at an Emergency Department somewhere else in Ontario,” explains Esther Millar, Chief Nursing Executive & Clinical Services. “Triage nurses will maintain their level of critical thinking and decision-making ability, but will have consistent reassurance through this provincial and confidential interface with our electronic health record that the correct decision on a CTAS level is made.”

MAHC’s eCTAS adoption aligns with both local and provincial standards to improve patient safety and quality of care. eCTAS will result in enhanced accountability through timely collection and analysis of triage data from all Ontario hospitals. “Your emergency visit is always important to us and our staff will always make an effort to keep your wait time to a minimum,” says Dr. John Simpson, Emergency Department Medical Director. “As we get ready for summer population influx, it’s important to remember that some patients will be seen by the doctor sooner depending on the urgency of their illness or injury. If you can see your care provider in the community for something that is not urgent, it helps to reduce the wait in the Emergency Department.”

Millar congratulates the Emergency Department teams for working through the development process of adopting this standard and creating the interface.

“Thanks to robust training, we don’t anticipate any delays for patients in the triage process as our staff navigate the new system,” Millar adds.

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