Allied Health Triaging Tool

Dr Sue Fitzpatrick1, Ms Carole  Bowman, Ms Kristi-Lee  Muir, Ms  Kristen  Farrell

1Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Port kembla, Australia

Prioritising. Triaging. They may be just words but they have different meaning within different health disciplines. In the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, there was a high degree of variability of clinical priorities and priority tools between allied health professions, with little consultation with stakeholders in the development of these processes. The outcomes of which was confusion and poor understanding from nursing and medical staff about why and when allied health choose to see referred patients.

A common priority tool for allied health was needed to define allied health core business which included the health service clinical priorities and using a consistent priority language. Following an initial consultation with stakeholders – nurses, doctors and allied health, the importance of a common language became apparent. Consultation with stakeholders ensured that the tool performed as a form of communication between medical and nursing staff in regards to priorities and the timeliness of allied health consultation.

A representative group of allied health senior staff co-designed a traffic light system for prioritisation which was designed around Deterioration, Discharge, Wellbeing, and the Impact that allied health intervention would having in the admitted hospital setting. The focus on the impact of allied health intervention was in 4 possible ways: significant impact, considerable impact, some impact and unlikely impact, allied health professionals are able to externalise their often internal prioritisation processing and explain these to each other and other stakeholders. The focus on Deterioration, Discharge and Wellbeing resulted from consultation with nursing, medical and allied health professionals in response to the question, “who would allied health prioritise if they were unable to see all patients referred in a given week?”

This presentation details the process of co-design and the pre and post evaluation of the tool in changing health professionals understanding of prioritising incoming referrals as well as defining the core business of allied health. The tool is a great example of co-design across health professions and the need for overarching agreed principles for understanding who we see first, when and why.


Sue Fitzpatrick has abackground in speech pathology and was awarded a doctor of health science in 2016 on teh topic of clinical supervision in allied health. Sue has an interest in alleid health leadership and empowering up and coming allied helath leaders.

Kristi-Lee Muir is a senior physiotherapist who has a range of clinical experience. Kristi-Lee brings this experience to allied health projects and has an interest in collaborative leadereship and working in an interdicsciplinary way across allied health to acheive great client outcomes.

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