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Original Research

Open Access

The outcome of ''non-urgent'' patients diverted by triage at an emergency department

  • Jari Ylä-Mattila1,*,
  • Teemu Koivistoinen2
  • Henna Siippainen1
  • Heini Huhtala3
  • Anna-Maija Kuukka1
  • Sami Mustajoki1

1Emergency Department, Tampere University Hospital, FI-33521 Tampere, Finland

2Emergency Department, Kanta-Häme Central Hospital, FI-13530 Hämeenlinna, Finland

3Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, FI-33014 Tampere, Finland

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2023.049 Vol.19,Issue 5,September 2023 pp.91-96

Submitted: 26 September 2022 Accepted: 11 January 2023

Published: 08 September 2023

*Corresponding Author(s): Jari Ylä-Mattila E-mail:


No universal definitions have been proposed for non-urgent emergency department (ED) patients. Robust evidence on safety issues and the subsequent utilisation of health care services among diverted patients is insufficient. The aim of this study was to establish the revisit rate within 7 days, as well as the 30-day mortality and outcome of patients diverted by triage. An observational single-centre retrospective study was conducted at the Tampere University Hospital ED for the full calendar year of 2019. The primary outcomes were a revisit within 7 days and 30-day mortality. A total of 92,406 ED visits were registered. Of these patients, 7.8% (7216 visits) were diverted by triage. Among the diverted patients, the hospital revisit rate within 7 days was 10.1%, and a diagnostic or therapeutic intervention was performed on 81.4% of the readmitted patients. The all-cause 30-day mortality, hospitalisation and intensive care unit admission rates of diverted patients were 0.07%, 1.7% and 0.1%, respectively. Diverting non-urgent patients reduces ED visits. The current study showed a revisit rate of 10.1% and a 30-day mortality rate of 0.07% for diverted patients. There were more unanticipated adverse outcomes than reported previously, and the strategy may thus be suitable only for some groups of patients without increasing risks. Therefore, further investigation is needed to determine the factors associated with readmissions and adverse outcomes to enhance the performance of triage in the future.


Divert; Emergency department; Mortality; Non-urgent patient; Triage

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Jari Ylä-Mattila,Teemu Koivistoinen,Henna Siippainen,Heini Huhtala,Anna-Maija Kuukka,Sami Mustajoki. The outcome of ''non-urgent'' patients diverted by triage at an emergency department. Signa Vitae. 2023. 19(5);91-96.


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