World first program aims to streamline emergency Department triage of COVID-19 patients

Monash University

A world-first program developed by Monash University researchers is aiming to help hospital emergency departments quickly identify patients with suspected COVID-19 infection.

The program has been implemented at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne and will collect data to provide emergency care clinicians with a list of clinical predictors for those presenting with COVID-19 symptoms, including demographic, symptoms, signs and results of simple investigations.

With Emergency Departments an important site of triage and resuscitation for seriously unwell Australians with COVID-19, it is hoped the program will result in rapid allocation of resources to those at serious risk.

A team led by Monash researcher and clinician at the Alfred Hospital, Associate Professor Gerard O’Reilly, has developed the COVID-19 Emergency Department Quality Improvement Project (COVED) which was published today in the journal, Emergency Medicine Australasia.

The COVED Project is enrolling all adult patients presenting at the Alfred Hospital Emergency Department who qualify for COVID-19 testing because of their symptoms or contact history. It is expected other Australian Emergency Departments will join to form a national network.

Data collection will be undertaken by clinicians as part of completing a dedicated COVID-19 Electronic Medical Record. The data will be analysed once a week and findings rapidly incorporated in a city and state-wide overview of who is presenting to Emergency Departments with COVID-19 symptoms, their disease progression and the outcomes of their treatment.

In place from April 1, COVED is already collecting data for patients presenting to the Alfred Emergency Department.

Associate Professor O’Reilly, says there is an urgent need for tools like COVED.

“Given the rapidly evolving response that the COVID-19 pandemic demands, there is an urgency to support Australian ED clinicians with real-time evidence-based clinical tools,” he said.

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/Public Release.