Table 1

Different types of scoring system

TriageThis is a technique to determine, in a rapid fashion, the priority in which a patient must be seen. It was originally used during mass casualty events where there may be very well and very unwell patients. Technically, it is therefore NOT an early warning system as it validated to determine the speed in which a patient must be seen.
Illness identification systemsThese use individual patient characteristics (or combinations of characteristics) to define risk a patient may have of a specific condition. This commonly applies to serious bacterial illness but, for example, may also be used in outcome prediction on admission to paediatric intensive care units.
Early warning scoresTraditionally, these are used on hospital wards to identify (already unwell children) who are at risk of deterioration to prevent intensive care admission or cardiorespiratory arrest