The Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale prioritizes patient care in the emergency department (ED) by setting recommendations for physician initial assessment (PIA) times. However, adherence to the recommended PIA times may not be possible due to increasing ED visits, overcrowding and patient boarding in the ED. We conducted a retrospective review of adult patients who visited four community EDs from January 2016 to December 2017 and found that the overall compliance with the recommended PIA times was low. This brings into question the utility of the current target PIA times and prompts the need for changes downstream to enable quicker patient assessments.
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