TELEPHONE CARE provided during the work day and after hours is an increasing component of pediatric practice. Owing to the pressure to limit office and emergency department use, and the increasing expectations from families and payers to provide access to care and case management, primary care and specialist pediatricians are finding themselves dispensing more and more advice over the telephone.
After-hours telephone care, which is primarily focused on providing clinical triage and advice, represents a unique set of challenges. The typical pediatrician in office practice will receive approximately 1000 after-hours triage and advice calls per year.1 These calls involve significant medicolegal risks and require a high level of clinical judgment to undertake an accurate assessment and ensure a safe and appropriate disposition.
Melzer SM. Pediatric After-hours Telephone Triage and Advice: Who Benefits and Who Pays?. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(7):617–618. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.7.617