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DEFINITION of 'Triage'

A process-management term predominantly seen in hospital and healthcare settings that can also apply to different types of business process or workflow situations. Triage refers to the practice of dividing incoming work or customers into different levels of priority so that the highest-priority issues are handled first, while lower-priority issues are stationed lower on the to-do list.


In a business setting, the concept of triage can be used to prioritize different types of work for various types of business units. In an IT department, for example, IT issues can be categorized as either emergency problems, medium-priority issues or low-priority issues. Emergency issues would command department members' attention as soon as they arrive, while medium-priority problems would be the first tasks undertaken once there were no emergency problems. Once there were no medium-priority problems, low-priority tasks would be undertaken.