webPOISONCONTROL: can poison control be automated? Academic Article uri icon


  • A free webPOISONCONTROL app allows the public to determine the appropriate triage of poison ingestions without calling poison control. If accepted and safe, this alternative expands access to reliable poison control services to those who prefer the Internet over the telephone. This study assesses feasibility, safety, and user-acceptance of automated online triage of asymptomatic, nonsuicidal poison ingestion cases.The user provides substance name, amount, age, and weight in an automated online tool or downloadable app, and is given a specific triage recommendation to stay home, go to the emergency department, or call poison control for further guidance. Safety was determined by assessing outcomes of consecutive home-triaged cases with follow-up and by confirming the correct application of algorithms. Case completion times and user perceptions of speed and ease of use were measures of user-acceptance.Of 9256 cases, 73.3% were triaged to home, 2.1% to an emergency department, and 24.5% directed to call poison control. Children younger than 6 years were involved in 75.2% of cases. Automated follow-up was done in 31.2% of home-triaged cases; 82.3% of these had no effect. No major or fatal outcomes were reported. More than 91% of survey respondents found the tool quick and easy to use. Median case completion time was 4.1 minutes.webPOISONCONTROL augments traditional poison control services by providing automated, accurate online access to case-specific triage and first aid guidance for poison ingestions. It is safe, quick, and easy to use.Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • August 2016