Skip to main content

The effects of telephone consultation and triage on healthcare use and patient satisfaction: a systematic review

Bunn, F., Byrne, G., Kendall, Sally (2005) The effects of telephone consultation and triage on healthcare use and patient satisfaction: a systematic review. British Journal of General Practice, 55 (251). pp. 956-961. ISSN 1478-5242. E-ISSN 1478-5242. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)

Abstract

In recent years there has been a growth in the use of the telephone consultation for healthcare problems. This has developed, in part, as a response to increased demand for GP and accident and emergency department care. Aim To assess the effects of telephone consultation and triage on safety, service use, and patient satisfaction. Design of study We looked at randomised controlled trials, controlled studies, controlled before/after studies, and interrupted time series of telephone consultation or triage in a general healthcare setting. Setting All healthcare settings were included but the majority of studies were in primary care. Method We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EPOC specialised register, PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, SIGLE, and the National Research Register and checked reference lists of identified studies and review articles. Two reviewers independently screened studies for inclusion, extracted data, and assessed study quality. Results Nine studies met our inclusion criteria: five randomised controlled trials; one controlled trial; and three interrupted time series. Six studies compared telephone consultation with normal care; four by a doctor, one by a nurse, and one by a clinic clerk. Three of five studies found a significant decrease in visits to GPs but two found an increase in return consultations. In general at least 50% (range = 25.5–72.2%) of calls were handled by telephone consultation alone. Of seven studies reporting accident and emergency department visits, six showed no difference between the groups and one — of nurse telephone consultation — found an increase. Two studies reported deaths and found no difference between nurse telephone consultation and normal care. Conclusions Although telephone consultation appears to have the potential to reduce GP workload, questions remain about its effect on service use. Further rigorous evaluation is needed with emphasis on service use, safety, cost, and patient satisfaction.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: consultation, hotlines, review, systematic, telephone, triage
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Tony Rees
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2016 14:23 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:17 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/55196 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):