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It is unclear which pediatric disaster triage (PDT) strategy yields the best accuracy or best patient outcomes.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis on a sample of emergency medical services providers from a prospective cohort study comparing the accuracy and triage outcomes for 2 PDT strategies (Smart and JumpSTART) and clinical decision-making (CDM) with no algorithm. Participants were divided into cohorts by triage strategy. We presented 10-victim, multi-modal disaster simulations. A Delphi method determined patients’ expected triage levels. We compared triage accuracy overall and for each triage level (RED/Immediate, YELLOW/Delayed, GREEN/Ambulatory, BLACK/Deceased).
There were 273 participants (71 JumpSTART, 122 Smart, and 81 CDM). There was no significant difference between Smart triage and CDM. When JumpSTART triage was used, there was greater accuracy than with either Smart (P<0.001; OR [odds ratio]: 2.03; interquartile range [IQR]: 1.30, 3.17) or CDM (P=0.02; OR: 1.76; IQR: 1.10, 2.82). JumpSTART outperformed Smart for RED patients (P=0.05; OR: 1.48; IQR: 1.01,2.17), and outperformed both Smart (P<0.001; OR: 3.22; IQR: 1.78,5.88) and CDM (P<0.001; OR: 2.86; IQR: 1.53,5.26) for YELLOW patients. Furthermore, JumpSTART outperformed CDM for BLACK patients (P=0.01; OR: 5.55; IQR: 1.47, 20.0).
Our simulation-based comparison suggested that JumpSTART triage outperforms both Smart and CDM. JumpSTART outperformed Smart for RED patients and CDM for BLACK patients. For YELLOW patients, JumpSTART yielded more accurate triage results than did Smart triage or CDM. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:253–260)
Using the pediatric version of the Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (JumpSTART) algorithm for the triage of pediatric patients in a mass-casualty incident (MCI) requires assessing the results of each step and determining whether to move to the next appropriate action. Inappropriate application can lead to performance of unnecessary actions or failure to perform necessary actions.
To report overall accuracy and time required for triage, and to assess if the performance of unnecessary steps, or failure to perform required steps, in the triage algorithm was associated with inaccuracy of triage designation or increased time to reach a triage decision.
Medical students participated in an MCI drill in which they triaged both live actors portraying patients and computer-based simulated patients to the four triage levels: minor, delayed, immediate, and expectant. Their performance was timed and compared to intended triage designations and a priori determined critical actions.
Thirty-three students completed 363 scenarios. The overall accuracy was 85.7% and overall mean time to assign a triage designation was 70.4 seconds, with decreasing times as triage acuity level decreased. In over one-half of cases, the student omitted at least one action and/or performed at least one action that was not required. Each unnecessary action increased time to triage by a mean of 8.4 seconds and each omitted action increased time to triage by a mean of 5.5 seconds.
Increasing triage level, performance of inappropriate actions, and omission of recommended actions were all associated with increasing time to perform triage.
ClaudiusI, KajiAH, SantillanesG, CiceroMX, DonofrioJJ, Gausche-HillM, SrinivasanS, ChangTP. Accuracy, Efficiency, and Inappropriate Actions Using JumpSTART Triage in MCI Simulations. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2015;30(5):457–460.
Disasters are high-stakes, low-frequency events. Telemedicine may offer a useful adjunct for paramedics performing disaster triage. The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility of telemedicine in disaster triage, and to determine whether telemedicine has an effect on the accuracy of triage or the time needed to perform triage.
This is a feasibility study in which an intervention team of two paramedics used the mobile device Google Glass (Google Inc; Mountain View, California USA) to communicate with an off-site physician disaster expert. The paramedic team triaged simulated disaster victims at the triennial drill of a commercial airport. The simulated victims had preassigned expected triage levels. The physician had an audio-video interface with the paramedic team and was able to observe the victims remotely. A control team of two paramedics performed disaster triage in the usual fashion. Both teams used the SMART Triage System (TSG Associates LLP; Halifax, England), which assigns patients into Red, Yellow, Green, and Black triage categories. The paramedics were video recorded, and their time required to triage was logged. It was determined whether the intervention team and the control team varied regarding accuracy of triage. Finally, the amount of time the intervention team needed to triage patients when telemedicine was used was compared to when that team did not use telemedicine.
The two teams triaged the same 20 patients. There was no significant difference between the two groups in overall triage accuracy (85.7% for the intervention group vs 75.9% for the control group; P = .39). Two patients were triaged with telemedicine. For the intervention group, there was a significant difference in time to triage patients with telemedicine versus those without telemedicine (35.5 seconds; 95% CI, 72.5-143.5 vs 18.5 seconds; 95% CI, 13.4-23.6; P = .041).
There was no increase in triage accuracy when paramedics evaluating disaster victims used telemedicine, and telemedicine required more time than conventional triage. There are a number of obstacles to available technology that, if overcome, might improve the utility of telemedicine in disaster response.
CiceroMX, WalshB, SoladY, WhitfillT, PaesanoG, KimK, BaumCR, ConeDC. Do You See What I See? Insights from Using Google Glass for Disaster Telemedicine Triage. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2015;30(1):1-5.
Though many mass-casualty triage methods have been proposed, few have been validated in an evidence-based manner. The Sacco Triage Method (STM) has been shown to accurately stratify adult victims of blunt and penetrating trauma into groups of increasing mortality risk. However, it has not been validated for pediatric trauma victims.
Evaluate the STM's performance in pediatric trauma victims.
Records from the United States’ National Trauma Data Base, a registry of trauma victims developed by the American College of Surgeons, were extracted for the 2007-2009 reporting years. Patients ≤18 years of age transported from a trauma scene with complete initial scene data were included in the analysis. Sacco triage scores were assigned to each registry patient, and receiver-operator curves were developed for predicting mortality, along with several secondary outcomes. Area under the receiver-operator curve (AUC) was the main outcome statistic. Sensitivity analysis was performed using a Sacco score without age adjustment, using blunt versus penetrating trauma, and using patients <12 years of age.
There were 210,175 pediatric records, of which 90,037 had complete data for analysis. The STM with age adjustment predicted pediatric trauma mortality with an AUC of 0.933 (95% CI: 0.925-0.940). Without the age adjustment term, it predicted mortality with an AUC of 0.924 (95% CI: 0.916-0.933). The STM with age adjustment predicted blunt trauma mortality in 72,467 patients with an AUC of 0.938 (95% CI: 0.929-0.947) and penetrating trauma mortality in 10,099 patients with an AUC of 0.927 (95% CI: 0.911-0.943). These findings did not change significantly when analysis was limited to patients <12 years of age. The Sacco Triage Method was also predictive of some secondary outcomes, such as major injury and death on arrival to the emergency department.
The Sacco Triage Method, with or without its age adjustment term, was a highly accurate predictor of mortality in pediatric trauma patients in this registry database. This triage method appears to be a valid strategy for the prioritization of injured children.
Cross KP, Cicero MX. Independent application of the Sacco Disaster Triage Method to pediatric trauma patients. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(4):1-6.
Pediatric disaster medicine (PDM) triage is a vital skill set for pediatricians, and is a required component of residency training by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Simulation training is an effective tool for preparing providers for high-stakes, low-frequency events. Debriefing is a learner-centered approach that affords reflection on one's performance, and increases the efficacy of simulation training. The purpose of this study was to measure the efficacy of a multiple-victim simulation in facilitating learners’ acquisition of pediatric disaster medicine (PDM) skills, including the JumpSTART triage algorithm. It was hypothesized that multiple patient simulations and a structured debriefing would improve triage performance.
A 10-victim school-shooting scenario was created. Victims were portrayed by adult volunteers, and by high- and low-fidelity simulation manikins that responded physiologically to airway maneuvers. Learners were pediatrics residents. Expected triage levels were not revealed. After a didactic session, learners completed the first simulation. Learners assigned triage levels to all victims, and recorded responses on a standardized form. A group structured debriefing followed the first simulation. The debriefing allowed learners to review the victims and discuss triage rationale. A new 10-victim trauma disaster scenario was presented one week later, and a third scenario was presented five months later. During the second and third scenarios, learners again assigned triage levels to multiple victims. Wilcoxon sign rank tests were used to compare pre- and post-test scores and performance on pre- and post-debriefing simulations.
A total of 53 learners completed the educational intervention. Initial mean triage performance was 6.9/10 patients accurately triaged (range = 5-10, SD = 1.3); one week after the structured debriefing, the mean triage performance improved to 8.0/10 patients (range = 5-10, SD = 1.37, P < .0001); five months later, there was maintenance of triage improvement, with a mean triage score of 7.8/10 patients (SD = 1.33, P < .0001).
Over-triage of an uninjured child with special health care needs (CSHCN) (67.8% of learners prior to debriefing, 49.0% one week post-debriefing, 26.2% five months post-debriefing) and under-triage of head-injured, unresponsive patients (41.2% of learners pre-debriefing, 37.5% post-debriefing, 11.0% five months post-debriefing) were the most common errors.
Structured debriefings are a key component of PDM simulation education, and resulted in improved triage accuracy; the improvement was maintained five months after the educational intervention. Future curricula should emphasize assessment of CSHCN and head-injured patients.
Cicero MX, Auerbach MA, Zigmont J, Riera A, Ching K, Baum CR. Simulation training with structured debriefing improves residents’ pediatric disaster triage performance. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(3):1-6.
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