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Efficient Emergency Room Triage


In the emergency room, triage is a five-tier system of gathering patient information and prioritizing patient care. It uses the following categories:

  1. Immediate life-saving interventions are necessary
  2. Emergent or high-risk situation
  3. Urgent
  4. Semi-urgent
  5. Non-urgent

Triage takes into account the limited resources of an emergency room. Triage ensures the sickest patients get care first by identifying patients who need immediate care and those who can wait. 

At Dignity Health, our emergency care teams are here for you around the clock at our state-of-the-art locations. Our ERs ensure that you are seen in a timely manner by providing efficient, organized triage in the Bay Area. Our Online Waiting Room allows you to select your estimated hospital arrival time and wait at home until your time to be seen. 

If you are experiencing a life-threatening symptom or injury, signs of heart attack or stroke, immediately call 9-1-1.

Triage: What to Expect at Dignity Health

The triage system begins as soon as you enter the ER. The initial evaluation of your problem will typically be conducted by a nurse. The nurse will ask questions to gather information about your condition or injury and take your vital measurements, such as blood pressure, breathing rate, temperature, and pulse. With all of this information, the nurse will make a triage assignment to determine the order in which you receive care.

If you condition changes while you are waiting, or if your symptoms worsen while waiting, notify the patient registration coordinator or triage nurse. This could affect your triage assignment.

The next step after triage is a medical assessment by a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider. Once you have been diagnosed, your ER team will determine the best treatment plan for your needs. Rely on Dignity Health to provide personal care every step of the way.

Dignity Health provides efficient and prompt emergency care, including triage, in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.