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July 19, 1995

Compensating Physicians for Telephone Calls

Author Affiliations

Chandler, Ariz

JAMA. 1995;274(3):216. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530030036022

To the Editor.  —In response to the Commentary by Dr Sorum,1 I would like to provide a corroborating observation of physicians' telephone encounter frequency. At our primary care health maintenance organization (HMO) clinic, six family practice clinicians have used a computerized patient record for the past 14 months, documenting all of their clinical activities on the system.2-4 We document nearly all of our telephone calls to or from patients on the computerized patient record, and we can easily report the frequency of use of this communication method. Of 22 616 patient-physician encounters in 1994, there were 18 527 clinic visits and 4089 telephone encounters (18%). This percentage agrees well with the earlier references in Sorum's Commentary. (The range was 6% to 29% in our clinic.) The Table indicates various types of patient encounters in 1994 for three of our family physicians.Salaried physicians often struggle with the concept

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