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Comparison of MPDS Codes and ECNS outcomes in telephone triage.

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Telephone Triage: A descriptive comparison of Medical Priority Dispatch System Dispatch Codes and Emergency Communication Nurse System outcomes in UK Ambulance Triage.



  • Contact name

    Mike Brady

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust

  • Identifier

    315266, Comparison of MPDS Codes and ECNS outcomes in telephone triage.

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    0 years, 6 months, 1 days

  • Research summary

    The trust has implemented a new computer decision support system called LowCode to support its secondary clinical assessment of 999 calls taken using the primary prioritisation system called Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS)(TM) (v13.3.326 (6-4-2022), an internationally used tool.

    Until recently, only a specific set of MPDS codes were eligible to be triaged automatically through LowCode. This set of codes are considered low acuity codes, calls that does not necessarily require urgent emergency dispatch. As such, nothing is known about how higher acuity codes are managed through LowCode triage and the outcomes of those patients, because the data was not captured or linked.

    In reality, high acuity calls have been triaged using LowCode for many years by UK ambulance services such as Great Western Ambulance, South Western Ambulance, and East of England Ambulance, much like Welsh Ambulance currently does, albeit with a different tool. However, these services manually created non-eligible LowCode call records and did not capture the original MPDS codes. As such, original MPDS code and LowCode outcomes for a wider range of codes could not be captured, compared, or reviewed.

    Given the current context of healthcare in the UK and demands experienced within the ambulance setting, more information is needed to better understand how the full range of 999 callers is currently managed and can be managed better; using the two systems. Therefore, a novel test approach is being taken to using LowCode in Welsh Ambulance by allowing all calls to be entered into LowCode, retaining their original MPDS code.

    Thus, this is the first time a fuller range of codes can be compared with clinical outcome; using existing reporting methods and data capture. If needed, the research team will review a subset of individual patient records for further information, leading to a greater understanding of how outcomes were reached.

  • REC name

    South West - Frenchay Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    10 Oct 2022

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion

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