Computer-supported telephone nurse triage: an evaluation of medical quality and costs

J Nurs Manag. 2007 Mar;15(2):180-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2007.00659.x.


Aim: To evaluate a telephone nurse triage model in terms of appropriateness of referrals to the appropriate level of care, patient's compliance with given advice and costs.

Background: A key concern in each telephonic consultation is to evaluate if appropriate.

Method: An evaluative design in primary health care with consecutive patients (N = 362) calling telephone nurse triage between November 2002 and February 2003.

Results: The advice was considered adequate in 325 (97.6%) cases. The patients' compliance with self-care was 81.3%, to primary health care 91.1% and to Accident and Emergency department 100%. The nurses referred self-care cases (64.7%) and Accident and Emergency cases (29.6%) from a less adequate to an appropriate level of care. The cost saving per call leading to a recommendation of self-care was euro 70.3, to primary health care euro 24.3 and to Accident and Emergency department euro 22.2.

Conclusions: The telephone nurse triage model showed adequate guidance for the patients concerning level of care and released resources for the benefit of both patients and the health care system.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cost Savings
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Emergency Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Hotlines / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Nursing
  • Nursing Assessment / organization & administration
  • Nursing Audit
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Nursing Records
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Quality of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration*
  • Sweden
  • Triage / organization & administration*