The evidence

STAT has been tested in multiple trials at Eastern Health. 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. We are currently conducting our first trial in an outpatient medical clinic, and have evidence from a survey of more than 50 service providers across Victoria, Australia, suggesting that the model is being successfully implemented beyond trial settings.

From these evaluations we know that:

  • STAT has consistently reduced waiting time by 20-40%, with some services reporting to have eliminated waiting lists
  • STAT results in a substantial reduction in variability of waiting time indicating a more equitable service
  • Reducing waiting lists improves efficiency for health providers. Staff report more transparency and consistency in the distribution of workloads and more efficient use of their time
  • Early access to services reduces anxiety, improves quality of care and may lead to improved outcomes for patients
  • Reduced waiting times can be maintained over at least 12 months
  • STAT represents good return on investment for health services

Publications

Lewis AK et al 2020. Reducing the waitlist of referred patients in a medical specialist outpatient clinic: an observational study. Journal of Health Organisation and Management

Harding et al 2020. Sustainable waiting time reductions after introducing the STAT model for access and triage: 12-month follow up of a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC health services Research

Lewis et al 2020. Specific Timely Appointments for Triage to reduce wait times in a medical outpatient clinic: protocol of a pre-post study with process evaluation. BMC Health Services Research

Harding et al 2019. Staff perspectives of a model of access and triage for reducing waiting time in ambulatory services: a qualitative study. BMC Health Services Research

Harding et al 2018. 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

Lewis et al 2018. 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

Harding et al 2018. Are wait lists inevitable in subacute ambulatory and community health services? A qualitative analysis. Australian Health Review

Harding et al 2016. Improving access for community health and sub-acute outpatient services: protocol for a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Health services Research

Harding et al 2015. Specific Timely Appointments for Triage (STAT) Reduced Waiting Lists in an Outpatient Physiotherapy Service. Physiotherapy

Harding et al 2013. Reducing waiting time for community rehabilitation services: A controlled before and after trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Harding et al 2013. Clinician and patient perspectives following introduction of a new model of triage that reduced waiting time: a qualitative analysis. Australian Health Review

Harding and Taylor 2013. Triage in Non-Emergency Services. In Patient Flow: Reducing Delay in Healthcare Delivery, Ed. Hall, R

Harding et al 2012. Effect of triage on waiting time for community rehabilitation services: A prospective cohort study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation