Teleconsultation in children with abdominal pain: a comparison of physician triage recommendations and an established paediatric telephone triage protocol

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2013 Sep 30;13:110. doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-13-110.


Background: Quality assessment and continuous quality feedback to the staff is crucial for safety and efficiency of teleconsultation and triage. This study evaluates whether it is feasible to use an already existing telephone triage protocol to assess the appropriateness of point-of-care and time-to-treat recommendations after teleconsultations.

Methods: Based on electronic patient records, we retrospectively compared the point-of-care and time-to-treat recommendations of the paediatric telephone triage protocol with the actual recommendations of trained physicians for children with abdominal pain, following a teleconsultation.

Results: In 59 of 96 cases (61%) these recommendations were congruent with the paediatric telephone protocol. Discrepancies were either of organizational nature, due to factors such as local referral policies or gatekeeping insurance models, or of medical origin, such as milder than usual symptoms or clear diagnosis of a minor ailment.

Conclusions: A paediatric telephone triage protocol may be applicable in healthcare systems other than the one in which it has been developed, if triage rules are adapted to match the organisational aspects of the local healthcare system.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Protocols / standards*
  • Disease Management
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pediatrics / instrumentation
  • Pediatrics / methods
  • Pediatrics / standards
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Telemedicine / standards*
  • Telephone / statistics & numerical data