The Impact of Standardized Acuity Assessment and a Fast-Track on Length of Stay in Obstetric Triage: A Quality Improvement Study

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To prospectively assess the impact of a standardized 5-category Obstetrical Triage Acuity Scale (OTAS) and a fast-track for lower-acuity patients on patient flow. Length of stay (LOS) data of women presenting to obstetric triage were abstracted from the electronic medical record prior to (July 1, 2011, to March 30, 2012) and following OTAS implementation (April 1 to December 31, 2012). Following computerized simulation modeling, a fast-track for lower acuity women was implemented (January 1, 2013, to February 28, 2014). Prior to OTAS implementation (8085 visits), the median LOS was 105 (interquartile range [IQR] = 52-178) minutes. Following OTAS implementation (8131 visits), the median LOS decreased to 101 (IQR = 49-175) minutes (P = .04). The LOS did not correlate well with acuity. Simulation modeling predicted that a fast-track for OTAS 4 and 5 patients would reduce the LOS. The LOS for lower-acuity patients in the fast-track decreased to 73 (IQR = 40-140) minutes (P = .005). In addition, the overall LOS (12 576 visits) decreased to 98 (IQR = 47-172) minutes (6.9% reduction; P < .001). Standardized assessment of acuity and a fast-track for lower acuity pregnant women decreased the overall LOS and the LOS of lower-acuity patients.

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