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BACKGROUND: Physician in triage and rotational patient assignment are different front-end processes that are designed to improve patient flow, but there are little or no data comparing them. OBJECTIVE: To compare physician in triage with rotational patient assignment with respect to multiple emergency department (ED) operational metrics. METHODS: Design-Retrospective cohort review. Patients-Patients seen on 23 days on which we utilized a physician in triage with those patients seen on 23 matched days when we utilized rotational patient assignment. RESULTS: There were 1,869 visits during physician in triage and 1,906 visits during rotational patient assignment. In a simple comparison, rotational patient assignment was associated with a lower median length of stay (LOS) than physician in triage (219 min vs. 233 min; difference of 14 min; 95% confidence interval [CI] 5-27 min). In a multivariate linear regression incorporating multiple confounders, there was a nonsignificant reduction in the geometric mean LOS in rotational patient assignment vs. physician in triage (204 min vs. 217 min; reduction of 6.25%; 95% CI -3.6% to 15.2%). There were no significant differences between groups for left before being seen, left subsequent to being seen, early (within 72 h) returns, early returns with admission, or complaint ratio. CONCLUSIONS: In a single-site study, there were no statistically significant differences in important ED operational metrics between a physician in triage model and a rotational patient assignment model after adjusting for confounders.


Traub, Stephen J., Adam C. Bartley, Vernon D. Smith, Roshanak Didehban, Christopher A. Lipinski, and Soroush Saghafian. "Physician in Triage Versus Rotational Patient Assignment." The Journal of Emergency Medicine 50.5 (May 2016): 784-790.