Aims and objectives: The aim of the study was to examine the impact on waiting times and patient satisfaction of nurse-led rheumatology telephone clinics.
Methods: Patients awaiting outpatient review were contacted by the rheumatology clerk and offered a nurse-led rheumatology telephone appointment. Those who accepted were given a date and time for the appointment. A telephone consultation proforma was used to structure the call and to organize appropriate investigations/action. A questionnaire was mailed to the 68 patients reviewed during the first month of the telephone clinics to assess satisfaction. Status forms were also completed to record further action.
Results: Of the 68 patients surveyed 73% completed and returned the questionnaire. Overall 72% were happy with the telephone consultation and would be happy to use the service again. Waiting times were reduced by two months as a total of 169 patients were reviewed during the April to August period.
Conclusion: Nurse-led telephone consultation, as part of chronic disease management, can be extremely beneficial for all rheumatology patients as a high level of satisfaction was achieved. In addition telephone consultations have helped to reduce the follow-up waiting times within the department by two months. This audit shows that telephone appointments conducted by an experienced nurse using an assessment proforma can be incorporated into routine follow-up care.
Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.