Background: The basic model of triage, developed more than 200 years ago by the French, is based on categorization of patient needs and thus the urgency and time required for care. This model in various forms is used in most hospitals throughout the world.Methods: In this study, a fully computerized guided self-diagnosis system (based on a neural network design) was designed, prototyped, developed and trialled by front line non-clinically trained personnel in emergency dentistry.Results: A total of 699 patients were seen as a result of the triage assessment within 14 days of their initial phone call and/or first contact. Patients categorized as requiring care on the day (Category 1) were provided more items of care (50 per cent of all items) and the greatest number of extractions (76 per cent) and endodontic treatments (78 per cent). Other categories were found to require less urgent care.Conclusions: The triage system developed in this study clearly holds significant promise in reducing the impact of emergency dental patients on dental health care systems. However, it is recognized that the system still requires some adjustment to ensure all Category I patients are examined before less urgent categories.
|Journal||Australian Dental Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|