Specific Timely Appointments for Triage (STAT)
Reducing waiting time for ambulatory and community services

Reducing waiting time for ambulatory and community services:
Specific Timely Appointments for Triage (STAT)

Waiting for outpatient and community health care is a problem for clients and services. The STAT research project aimed to reduce waiting times using an evidence-based model of access and triage developed at Eastern Health. STAT provides an alternative to using waiting lists to manage demand.

The model’s key elements are: analysis of supply and demand; a one-off intervention to address the backlog; creation of clinician schedules which reserve new patient appointments; simplification of intake; and a shifting of caseload management to make prioritisation decisions on ongoing service delivery rather than initial intake.

After initial indications of success in two pilot trials, the model has been tested in a large scale trial involving eight community based health services and more than 3000 patients. STAT reduced waiting time by 34% and also resulted in a substantial reduction in variability of waiting time indicating a more equitable service. Reducing waiting lists improves efficiency for health providers, and early access to services reduces anxiety, improves quality of care and may lead to improved outcomes for patients.

What is STAT

Play the video to find out how the model works



How do you do it?

Click here to download the free handbook on STAT.

Award Nomination

STAT was nominated for the 2019 La Trobe University Excellence in Health Research and Translation Award. 
The video below gives more information.

  1. Harding KE, Snowdon DA, Lewis AK, Leggat SG, Kent B, Watts JJ, et al. Staff perspectives of a model of access and triage for reducing waiting time in ambulatory services: a qualitative study. BMC Health Services Research. 2019;19(1):283.
  2. Harding KE, Leggat SG, Watts JJ, Kent B, Prendergast L, Kotis M, O’Reilly M, Karimi L, Lewis AK, Snowdon DA et al. A model of access combining triage with initial management reduced waiting time for community outpatient services: a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Medicine 2018; 16(1):182. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-018-1170-z
  3. Lewis A, Harding K, Snowdon D, Taylor N. Reducing wait time from referral to first visit for community outpatient services may contribute to better health outcomes: A systematic review. BMC health services research. 2018 Dec;18(1):869.   https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-018-3669-6
  4. Harding KE, Robertson N, Snowdon DA, Watts JJ, Karimi L, O'Reilly M, Kotis M, Taylor NF. Are wait lists inevitable in subacute ambulatory and community health services? A qualitative analysis. Australian Health Review 2018; 42(1):93-99. http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/AH16145
  5. Harding KE, Watts JJ, Karimi L, O'Reilly M, Kent B, Kotis M, et al. Improving access for community health and sub-acute outpatient services: protocol for a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Health Serv Res. 2016;16(a):364. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27506923
  6. Harding K, Bottrell J. Specific Timely Appointments for Triage (STAT) Reduced Waiting Lists in an Outpatient Physiotherapy Service. Physiotherapy. 2015;doi:10.1016/j.physio.2015.10.011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26725373
  7. Harding KE, Leggat S, Bowers B, Stafford M, Taylor NF. Reducing waiting time for community rehabilitation services: A controlled before and after trial. Arch Phys Med Rehab. 2013;94(3):23-31. http://www.archives-pmr.org/article/S0003-9993(12)00884-2/pdf
  8. Harding KE, Leggat S, Bowers B, Stafford M, Taylor NF. Perspectives of clinicians and patients following introduction of a new model of triage that reduced waiting time: a qualitative analysis Aust Health Rev. 2013;33(3):324-30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23680046
  9. Harding KE, Taylor NF. Triage in Non-Emergency Services. In: Hall R, editor. Patient Flow: Reducing Delay in Healthcare Delivery. 2nd ed. New York: Springer; 2013. p. 229-50. http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9781461495116