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.