Video triage in calls concerning children with fever at an out-of-hours medical helpline: a prospective quality improvement study

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Parents often contact out-of-hours services due to worry concerning febrile children, despite the children rarely being severely ill. As telephone triage of children is challenging, many children are referred to hospital assessment. This study investigated if video triage resulted in more children staying at home. Secondary aims included safety, acceptability and feasibility of this new triage tool.

In this prospective quality improvement study, nurse call-handlers enrolled febrile children aged 3 months-5 years to video or telephone triage (1:1), with follow-up within 48 h after call. The setting was an out-of-hours call-center for non-urgent illness in Copenhagen, Denmark, receiving over 1 million calls annually and predominately staffed by registered nurses. Main outcome measure was difference in number of children assessed at hospital within 8 h after call between video-and telephone triage group. Rates of feasibility, acceptability and safety (death, lasting means, transfer to intensive care unit) were compared between the triage groups.

There was no difference in triage outcome (home care vs. hospital referral) or number of patients assessed at hospital between triage groups. However, more video triaged patients received in-hospital treatment, testing and hospitalization.

Video triage was feasible to conduct, acceptable to parents and as safe as telephone triage. The study did not show that more children stayed at home after video triage, possibly because the allocation strategy was not upheld, as video triage sometimes was chosen in cases of complex and severe symptoms, and this likely has changed study outcome.

Trial registration: Id NCT04074239. Registered 2019-08-30.
TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
Udgave nummer1
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Open access funding provided by Royal Library, Copenhagen University Library. The study received unrestricted grants from the TRYG Foundation, the health research foundation of the Capitol Region and the Amager-Hvidovre Hospital research foundation. The funding bodies had no influence on study design or collection, analysis and interpretation of data or writing of manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation.

ID: 374527249