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Towards patient self-triage in the ophthalmic emergency department: sensitivity and specificity of a self-triage instrument.

Acta Ophthalmol 2014, vol. 92, issue 7


Trained ophthalmic triage staff may not constantly be available in the emergency department of a specialized ophthalmic hospital, particularly at night. To support the current triage process, the aim of this study was to develop an ophthalmic instrument of patient self-triage (ISET).


A preliminary ISET, in the form of a pen-and-paper questionnaire, was refined and validated in a two-step procedure. In a first explorative step, we compared the results of the ISET with the results of the regular triage process during the day, that is, triage by a trained triage assistant in a specialized ophthalmic hospital. As several patients needed guidance completing the questionnaire, the ISET was subsequently refined. The second step was to test the validity of the refined ISET by again comparing the outcome of this triage with that of the triage assistant in the emergency department.


The first explorative step involved 279 patients and the final validation step 298. During the validation step, sensitivity of the ISET was 94.3% and specificity 76.4%.


The results show that the ISET is a sensitive and specific instrument for ophthalmic triage compared with a trained ophthalmic triage assistant.

Link to full publication

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