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||Development and field testing of protocols for the management of pediatric telephone calls: protocols for pediatric telephone calls.
||Levy JC, Rosekrans J, Lamb GA, Friedman M, Kaplan D, Strasser P
||Although telephone calls comprise almost one fourth of all childhood patient-physician contacts, the content of telephone care is not emphasized in most educational and service programs. In response to the need to improve management of telephone calls to our pediatric emergency room, we developed 28 protocols to deal with the 25 most common complaints presented by phone. This paper describes the content of these protocols, the training of the health assistants who administered them, and the measures we took to assure their safety and general utility in pediatric practice settings. The study demonstrates the feasibility of an organized system for telephone care based on protocols which include: (1) basic data to be collected for each chief complaint category; (2) a range of appropriate dispositions; and (3) advice for home management when the patient does not require an immediate medical visit. Potential uses of these protocols for medical and nursing education and for clinical service needs are discussed.