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June 1985

The Emphasis of Telephone Medicine in Pediatric Training Programs

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore.

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(6):555-557. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140080025025

Parents frequently call their children's physicians as an alternative to office visits. A telephone conversation with a pediatrician may obviate the need for a visit by providing the parent with the information necessary to successfully manage the child's condition at home. To accomplish this, the physician must be capable of obtaining a reliable history by telephone; however, concern has been raised about pediatric residents' abilities to do so.1-4 Diagnoses made and advice rendered by telephone have medical and legal implications for pediatric training programs. In addition, the ability of a resident to communicate effectively with parents by telephone is an extension of his or her ability to communicate effectively when parents are present. Communication skills can be learned, which implies that they can be taught. A medical-social skill that can be taught should be included in the curriculum of a pediatric training program. However, many programs have not emphasized this