Thrive by IU Health

February 01, 2024

Talking about triage

IU Health Bloomington Hospital

Talking about triage

There are no ifs, ands or buts about it—emergency departments can get very busy very quickly.

Triaging patients with medical screening exams ensures those with more severe, time-sensitive concerns get the fast response they need while other, less acute issues still receive attention from these highly-skilled professionals.

Ethan Farmer, DO, and Matt Mathers, Critical Care paramedic, with the IU Health Bloomington Emergency department are well-acquainted with the process.

Er providers/triage team
l-r: Ethan Farmer, DO, and Matt Mathers, Critical Care paramedic

“Most days in the ED consist of seeing a broad spectrum of patients from minor complaints to life devastating illness,” says Farmer. “My goal when triaging is to screen for serious illness that need immediate attention and to start a patient’s workup.”

This can help with quicker diagnoses because the firsts steps of the checkup are already done by the time the patients are called back to see a provider. And in turn, the wait for the next patient in line can be lessened.

Mathers is a paramedic with dual responsibilities as a patient care assistant at the hospital. When he flexes up to help with screenings, his focus is on:

  • Taking vital signs
  • Listening to the patient so he understands their concerns
  • Beginning treatment, if possible

“When a room opens up, the scans are usually back and lab work is complete,” says Mathers. “Sometimes the patient will require more testing or will be discharged.”

As Farmer explains, the ED sees patients with very high to very low acuities—and triaging is just one tool the team uses to improve patient care.

The ED is a vital part of the healthcare continuum that works with other medical facilities to care for those in this community.

Check out the flyer to the right (download here) to better understand the options available in south-central Indiana and the traits that make them a better choice for the unique medical issues you may experience.

Choosing the best medical option for your needs can save you time and money while keeping these healthcare facilities operating efficiently. But if in doubt, the IU Health Bloomington Emergency team is here as your safety net.

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