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AHRQ announces new triage tools for hospital emergency departments

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has three new products for use by emergency department staff based on the Agency's Emergency Severity Index (ESI). The ESI is a five-level emergency department (ED) triage algorithm that yields rapid, reproducible, and clinically relevant stratification of patients into five groups to allow patients to be categorized according to both acuity and hospital resources.

These new products include a set of two DVDs, Emergency Severity Index, Version 4: Everything You Need To Know (AHRQ Publication No. 05-0046-DVD), a spiral-bound Implementation Handbook (AHRQ Publication No. 05-0046-2) covering all the details of ESI, and a poster (included with the handbook) of the ESI triage algorithm that is designed for use in EDs. These materials provide information to help hospitals decide whether the ESI is right for their ED, tools for training ED nurses in the use of the ESI, advice on how to roll out ESI department-wide, and practice case scenarios and implementation strategies.

The Implementation Handbook, which can be used while or after viewing the DVDs, discusses ESI and the research behind it and contains sections on the history of triage, evaluation and quality improvement, and cases to assess nurses' competency after training. Go to www.ahrq.gov/research/esi/ to access the handbook.

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