13Health and EDs

As an emergency department physician, I’m interested in the reasons patients attend our Emergency Departments.  I understand that 13HEALTH direct a significant proportion of callers to attend their local ED, and it would be interesting to know if these referrals were clinically appropriate. In addition, I understand that 13HEALTH utilises a similar medical priority triage system to the QAS, and it would be helpful to understand if the current triaging guidelines align with those of the QAS. It would be good to work with 13HEALTH and QAS to see if some patients can be provided with alternative care options.


Why the contribution is important

Important to understanding and have confidence that referrals to EDs from 13Health are consistent with the principle that EDs are for emergencies.

by collierj on August 06, 2019 at 05:11PM

Current Rating

Average score : 4.6
Based on : 5 votes


  • Posted by Churchtl August 09, 2019 at 16:52

    Agreed James. If there were reviews done on this service perhaps we could streamline the process to make it service that filters out what doesn't need to be in ED, instead of filtering most calls into ED.
  • Posted by mcrice August 12, 2019 at 20:24

    If the 13HEALTH service had an algorithm that led to getting advice from a doctor, a lot of visits could be saved. WAY cheaper to have a doctor on the line than an ED attendance
  • Posted by kathyk August 13, 2019 at 15:02

    Does the 13HEALTH service have a doctor/s on site to provide advice? Could also be a way of diverting from ED
  • Posted by kathyk August 13, 2019 at 15:05

    Oops, I meant to add: it would be more robust to review the QAS and 13HEALTH triage systems at the same time, to determine similarities/differences, how they could complement and strengthen one another, rather than duplicating
  • Posted by nurse11 August 14, 2019 at 08:07

    I agree, although I think a big part of the success of 13HEALTH referring patients to attend a GP or ED ultimately depends on the patient. They may have been advised by 13HEALTH to be reviewed by a doctor within 8-12 hours - most people would possibly wait to book in with their GP. If it's review within 4 hours - most people would be likely to present to ED, particularly if it's overnight.

    The parameters for 13HEALTH nurses to suggest a timeframe is fantastic IF they work - a patient would be likely to attend ED because they know their own GP is fully booked. So often my clients tell me they can't get an appointment with their GP on the same day they call - we usually joke that you have to know you're going to be unwell in advance.

    I think closer work with the PHN and 13HEALTH to engage patients to attend GP appointments would help. Not sure of the FTA rate at GP practices, but even bulk billing I'm sure they occur. Most GP practices have a fee for FTAs - easy for patients - they just find a new GP practice.
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