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Article |

Triage of Ambulatory Patients

Stephen L. Adams, MD; Phil B. Fontanarosa, MD
JAMA. 1996;276(6):493-494. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540060069040.
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The word triage is derived from the French verb trier, meaning to sort, sift, or cull. One of the original uses was applied to the sorting of beans, such as coffee, by type and size.1 The first application of the concept in medicine was on the military battlefield, where triage involved the rapid determination of priority for use of limited medical resources. Injured soldiers were sorted as to those who would require immediate treatment (and likely return to battle), those who could wait for treatment, and those for whom treatment would be futile.2 Today, the triage process has assumed a central role in the initial evaluation and classification of patients seeking emergency treatment and also has become increasingly used in the managed care setting for determining access and granting authorization for acute care.

See also p 460.

In the emergency department (ED), identification of patients who require treatment


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