Background Triage tools (TT) were introduced in an integrated sexual health service to enable patients to be streamed to the most appropriate healthcare professional. The tool used is a patient completed questionnaire to ascertain reasons for attendance and any presenting symptoms.
Aim To determine whether the TT is a good indicator of patient symptoms and predictor of the skill mix required for the service.
Method A retrospective analysis of case notes reviewed gender, reported symptoms stated on TT and whether these symptoms correlated with the history taken from the patient.
Results 360 notes were analysed (178 females, 182 males), 125/178 (70%) of females were symptomatic according to TT. In 17/178 (9%) the correlation between TT and history taking was deficient. In 8/17 of these cases, issues related to contraception or referral for termination of pregnancy. 53/178 (30%) were asymptomatic according to TT. In 13/53 cases, symptoms were later disclosed on history taking (dyspareunia, vulval discomfort, disclosure of assault or contraception issues). In males, 82/182 (45%) were symptomatic and 7/182 (4%) of cases demonstrated a correlation deficit (eg, disclosure of assault). 100/182 (54%) of cases were asymptomatic on TT of which 24/100 were not on history taking.
Conclusion In 61/360 (17%) of patients the correlation of symptoms was incomplete on history taking compared to the TT. This indicates that although the tool remains a useful guide to patient presentation, clinics require a broad skill mix, including those with experience in dealing all aspects of integrated sexual health.
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