Effective Triaging of Patients in Confronting Covid-19 Pandemic: Favorable Experience from Yarmouk Health Care Center, Kuwait
Keywords:COVID-19 Pandemic, Patient Safety, Patient Satisfaction, Telemedicine, Triage
An efficient and functional triage system, is a successful strategy adopted at various health care facilities in combating against the COVID-19 pandemic. It helps to reduce exposure to the infection and ensures safety of health care workers, patients and visitors. The aim of the study was to observe the effectiveness of triage practice, at Yarmouk Primary Health Care Center, Kuwait. A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted during February 2019, to December 2020 at the Yarmouk Primary Health Care Center clinics, Kuwait. A triage-based health care delivery model, with rate of overall service usage, were compared before and during the application of triage during COVID-19 pandemic. The control period was from February to December 2019, when the center was working under normal circumstances. Crisis period was from February to December 2020. Data was collected from the primary care information service, Ministry of Health database, for Yarmouk PHCC activities and service utilization pattern, from February 2019 till December 2020.
Due to application of triage system, total number of patient visits were reduced from 151,886 patients in 2019 (pre-Covid) to 72,454 patients in 2020 (CoVID-pandemic), that is 75% reduction in patients visit. The employees were screened 9,511 times for possible COVID-19 symptoms. None of the employees got COVID at workplace because of the effective triage system. Those who got infected with COVID-19 had the exposure from outside workplace. In addition, 105 written reports and a daily follow-up schedule were written. Appointment links were used 102,256 times across various clinics and departments. The link to issue medical reports was used more than 330 times, and more than 70 medical reports were issued. The Chronic Medicines Refill link was used 868 times. Tele-consultation and online consultation were significantly increased, with no change in patient's satisfaction. Applying well planned and monitored triage system at Yarmouk PHCC prioritized services and ensure safety of doctors, staff, patients and visitors, without compromising quality not patient satisfaction.
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