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Triage System Explained

Health • by Ryno Ellis • 06 November 2020

Have you ever seen a medical drama, for example, Grey’s Anatomy where the emergency room has way more sick and injured patients than hunky doctors to help?

Well, the triage system is set in place to help health practitioners in real life know which emergency to tend to first to save the greatest amount of lives.

This is, of course, a more loose description. Here’s the actual definition:

Triage is the sorting of patients (for example, in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care based according to a system of priorities designed to maximise the number of survivors.

Why is a triage system important?

For the hospital: Being able to identify more severe cases in a hospital environment allows medical staff to direct their attention effectively and help save as many lives as possible.

For you: Knowing what is deemed an emergency can help you seek the right medical treatment needed for recovery. For example, if your child is suffering from severe stomach cramps, it could be more beneficial to see your local pharmacist or GP for help rather than rushing to the emergency room.

For your wallet: Many insurance companies, similar to GetSavvi Health, offer emergency benefits. However, if a member was to rush to the emergency room for a condition that’s not deemed a medical emergency, then the member will be liable for the emergency room bill. For example, if a family member is vomiting persistently and is taken to the emergency room, they will be admitted. However, insurance will not cover this as the member could have been diagnosed and treated by a GP or pharmacist.

What is the definition of a medical emergency?

A medical emergency is an acute injury or illness that poses an immediate risk to a person's life or long-term health, sometimes referred to as a situation risking "life or limb".

Triage priority

Please note: All members that are triaged with conditions that are yellow and green (non-life-threatening), will be liable for the cost of the casualty consultation or will have to make use of the GetSavvi Health network GP.

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