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Med Care. 1982 Jul;20(7):739-48.

Effectiveness of an ambulatory care telephone service in reducing drop-in visits and improving satisfaction with care.


The purpose of this research was to determine whether a specialized telephone service could cut down on unscheduled visits to ambulatory care and improve satisfaction with care. Patients who were to receive care (N = 561) were assigned randomly to a specialized telephone service or a control group. They were measured with regard to satisfaction with care before being assigned and 6 months later. The number of scheduled and unscheduled visits also were monitored for a 1-year follow-up period. The telephone service, which provided a triage system for referrals as well as a source of central contact for scheduling or for complaints, helped to improve satisfaction and reduce the number of unscheduled visits within 6 months. Such a service also may have application in other problem areas in the delivery of quality ambulatory care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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