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Pilot project aims to reduce ambulance wait times in Regina, Saskatoon

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A new pilot project is set to be launched in Saskatchewan and aims to improve patient flow and reduce ambulance offload delays in emergency departments in Regina and Saskatoon.

The project, set to begin in June, will introduce a new triage software system supported by a registered nurse. The nurse will evaluate calls and if it is not an emergency, patients will be directed to an alternative health care option.

"At times we can have significant numbers of patients coming into our emergency departments, and that impacts patient flow, it impacts the ambulances' ability to get back on the street if they don't have a place to offload those patients," Minister of Health Everett Hindley said.

Under the new program, patients who do not require urgent medical attention will be directed to clinics instead of the emergency room. This approach aims to ensure that only those in critical need access emergency room services, allowing for better utilization of ambulance services.

Troy Davies, Medavie's Director of Public Affairs, elaborated on the benefits of the program.

"Today's announcement is a further enhancement of the tools we'll have up in the communication center, also to streamline high-quality patient care so you're getting the right patient, the right quality, and the right services based on the analysis of an RN, who will be up here with us," Davies said.

To facilitate this, new software will be installed in Medavie call centres in Saskatoon and Regina.

This software will enable a registered nurse to make triage decisions, potentially redirecting patients to more suitable healthcare facilities.

"So once the RN is done with her protocols, and doing that secondary triage, she might come to the determination that maybe a minor emergency clinic might be more appropriate, where you can still get an X-ray and care from a physician. You may not need an emergency room, but you may still need care from a physician," Lisa Kennedy, Medavie's senior operations manager said.

The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, when contacted by CTV, stated they were unaware of the changes and declined to comment. The pilot program is set to begin in June.

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