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Syst Rev. 2019 Mar 30;8(1):78. doi: 10.1186/s13643-019-0992-x.

Patient prioritization tools and their effectiveness in non-emergency healthcare services: a systematic review protocol.

Author information

1
Department of Rehabilitation, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
2
Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et intégration sociale (CIRRIS), Centre Intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de la Capitale-Nationale, Québec, Canada.
3
Faculty of Business Administration, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
4
Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur les réseaux d'entreprise, la logistique et le transport (CIRRELT), Montréal, Canada.
5
Faculty of Nursing, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
6
Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec, Québec, Canada.
7
Centre de recherche en gestion des services de santé, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
8
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
9
Department of Logistics and Operations Management, HEC Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
10
Department of Rehabilitation, Université Laval, Québec, Canada. marie-eve.lamontagne@fmed.ulaval.ca.
11
Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et intégration sociale (CIRRIS), Centre Intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de la Capitale-Nationale, Québec, Canada. marie-eve.lamontagne@fmed.ulaval.ca.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Waiting lists should be managed as fairly as possible to ensure that patients with greater or more urgent needs receive services first. Patient prioritization refers to the process of ranking referrals in a certain order based on various criteria with the aim of improving fairness and equity in the delivery of care. Despite the widespread use of patient prioritization tools (PPTs) in healthcare services, the existing literature on this subject has mainly focused on emergency settings. Evidence has not been synthesized with respect to all the non-emergency services.

METHODS:

This review aims to perform a systematic synthesis of published evidence concerning (1) prioritization tools' characteristics, (2) their metrological properties, and (3) their effect measures across non-emergency services. Five electronic databases will be searched (Cochrane Library, Ovid/MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, and CINAHL). Eligibility criteria guiding data selection will be (1) qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods empirical studies; (2) patient prioritization in any non-emergency setting; and (3) discussing characteristic, metrological properties, or effect measures. Data will be sought to report tool's format, description, population, setting, purpose, criteria, developer, metrological properties, and outcome measures. Two reviewers will independently screen, select, and extract data. Data will be synthesized with sequential exploratory design method. We will use the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) to assess the quality of articles included in the review.

DISCUSSION:

This systematic review will provide much-needed knowledge regarding patient prioritization tools. The results will benefit clinicians, decision-makers, and researchers by giving them a better understanding of the methods used to prioritize patients in clinical settings.

SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION:

PROSPERO CRD42018107205.

KEYWORDS:

Healthcare services; Outcomes; Patient prioritization; Systematic review; Waiting lists

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