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We created an instructional waiting room video that explained what patients should expect during their emergency department (ED) visit and sought to determine whether preparing patients using this video would 1) improve satisfaction, 2) decrease perceived waiting room times and 3) increase calls to an outpatient referral line in an ambulatory population.
This serial cross-sectional study took place over a period of 2 months before (control) and 2 months after the introduction of an educational waiting room video that described a typical patient visit to our ED. We enrolled a convenience sample of adult patients or parents of pediatric patients who were triaged to the ED waiting room; a research assistant distributed and collected the surveys as patients were being discharged after treatment. Subjects were excluded if they were admitted. The primary outcome was overall satisfaction measured on a 5-point Likert scale, and secondary outcomes included perceived waiting room time, and the number of outpatient referral-line calls.
There were 1132 subjects surveyed: 551 prevideo and 581 postvideo. The mean age was 38 years (standard deviation [SD] 18), 61% were female and the mean ED length of stay was 5.9 hours (SD 3.6). Satisfaction scores were significantly higher postvideo, with 65% of participants ranking their visit as either “excellent” or “very good,” compared with 58.1% in the prevideo group (p = 0.019); however, perceived waiting room time was not significantly different between the groups (p = 0.24). Patient calls to our specialty outpatient clinic referral line increased from 1.5 per month (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.58–2.42) to 4.5 per month (95% CI 1.19–7.18) (p = 0.032). After adjusting for possible covariates, the most significant determinants of overall satisfaction were perceived waiting room time (odds ratio [OR] 0.41, 95% CI 0.34–0.48) and having seen the ED waiting room video (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.06–1.86).
Preparing patients for their ED experience by describing the ED process of care through a waiting room video can improve ED patient satisfaction and the knowledge of outpatient clinic resources in an ambulatory population. Future studies should research the implementation of this educational intervention in a randomized fashion.
Emergency department (ED) triage prioritizes patients based on urgency of care, and the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) is the national standard. We describe the inter-rater agreement and manual overrides of nurses using a CTAS-compliant web-based triage tool (eTRIAGE) for 2 different intensities of staff training.
This prospective study was conducted in an urban tertiary care ED. In phase 1, eTRIAGE was deployed after a 3-hour training course for 24 triage nurses who were asked to share this knowledge during regular triage shifts with colleagues who had not received training (n = 77). In phase 2, a targeted group of 8 triage nurses underwent further training with eTRIAGE. In each phase, patients were assessed first by the duty triage nurse and then by a blinded independent study nurse, both using eTRIAGE. Inter-rater agreement was calculated using kappa (weighted κ) statistics.
In phase 1, 569 patients were enrolled with 513 (90.2%) complete records; 577 patients were enrolled in phase 2 with 555 (96.2%) complete records. Inter-rater agreement during phase 1 was moderate (weighted κ = 0.55; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.49–0.62); agreement improved in phase 2 (weighted κ = 0.65; 95% CI 0.60–0.70). Manual overrides of eTRIAGE scores were infrequent (approximately 10%) during both periods.
Agreement between study nurses and duty triage nurses, both using eTRIAGE, was moderate to good, with a trend toward improvement with additional training. Triage overrides were infrequent. Continued attempts to refine the triage process and training appear warranted.
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