The Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority is embarking on an ambitious program which, when fully implemented, will see improvements in the flow and treatment of patients at the Emergency Department (ED) of Mt Hagen Hospital.
The Triage Program which is aimed at improving the emergency care system at the hospital is currently being developed by Emergency Physicians, Dr John Junior McKup and Dr Scotty Kandelyo, the Deputy Chief Emergency Physician for the Highlands and two consultant emergency physicians from Australia, Dr Rob Mitchell and Dr Colin Banks.
Two local registrars, Dr Lucas Kondi and Dr John Gabriel are also doing research projects on emergency care which will also help in putting together a final triage program for the hospital.
Triaging is aimed at identifying which patients are the most urgent in need of treatment and those who are less urgent. The system has three levels or categories so clinicians know which patients must be seen first.
When patients present themselves at the emergency department, they are identified and grouped into these categories – category one for patients to be seen immediately within 5 minutes, category two for urgent patients to be seen within 15 minutes and category three for non-urgent ones.
The identification and grouping of patients into different categories for treatment helps to reduce the morbidity and mortality rates, according to Emergency Physician, Dr Rob Mitchell.
He said there were other associated activities as well such as the introduction of new registration forms for patients to help improve data collection which would then help improve the flow of patients through the Emergency Department.
The data collected would be coded and entered into an electronic database for easy access and identification of patients and their medical history, should they return with new complaints or simply for review.
Once the triage system is up and running, it will electronically capture all the Emergency Department’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which will make it the first of its kind in any public hospital emergency department in the country.
Mt Hagen Hospital’s Emergency Department KPIs are designed to ensure patient care becomes a priority and the treatment provided is safe, appropriate and effective for all those that seek its care.
The triage system is supported by a Friendship Grant from the Australian Government through the PNGAus Partnership.
Dr Mitchell said by August this year the team hoped to finalise everything and conduct training sessions for all emergency clinicians as well as others to enable the immediate rollout of the emergency care system.
He said it was hoped that by the end of this year, Mt Hagen Hospital’s Emergency Department would have a fully functional triage system in place that would provide a better understanding of the needs of emergency patients and make it one of the most efficient EDs in the country.
The public are advised that the role of the Emergency Department is to assess and treat patients with acute and critical illness. Patients with chronic conditions are encouraged to attend the local health facility or clinic nearest to them.