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Br J Gen Pract. 1991 November; 41(352): 462–465.
PMCID: PMC1371790

How well do nurse-run telephone consultations and consultations in the surgery agree? Experience in Swedish primary health care.


The telephone consultation service is an important part of Swedish primary health care. However, few studies have compared telephone consultations managed by nurses with surgery consultations managed by both doctors and nurses in terms of information obtained from the patient regarding his or her symptoms, and the management decisions made. In this study, the information obtained from a patient during a telephone consultation with a health centre nurse and the management decisions made, were compared with those obtained at a subsequent surgery consultation with the same nurse, and then with a doctor. Of 200 telephone consultations at a health centre (50 in each of the following four categories as defined by the management decision of the nurse: acute case, semi-acute case, referral case and self-care case), 193 patients were included in the study. The information given to the nurse during the telephone consultation was recorded. The patient was then asked to come for a surgery consultation on the same day, first with the same nurse and then with a general practitioner. A comparison was made between the information obtained and the decisions taken in these three situations. In 185 of the 193 cases (96%) the information led to the same management decision by the nurse, in both the telephone consultation and later in the surgery consultation. In all cases the same history was recorded by the nurse during the telephone and surgery consultations as by the general practitioner. This indicates that in most cases little or no information is missed in a telephone consultation with a nurse as compared with a surgery consultation with a nurse or doctor.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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Selected References

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