Does indirect consultation lead to overprescribing in general practice?

Soc Sci Med. 1987;25(1):43-6. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(87)90205-x.


Indirect consultations (by telephone or receptionist) are of increasing importance in general practice and may result in more prescribing than during direct (face to face)-consultations. We analysed prescribing data for 14,660 disorders, presented in one week in 52 general practices. In general, a significant, but hardly relevant increase in prescribing during indirect consultations was observed. The effect varies strongly for different disorders and was especially relevant for repeat-prescriptions for the following conditions: musculoskeletal- and connective tissue diseases, endocrine, nutritional and metabolic disorders and disorders of the female genital tract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization
  • Family Practice
  • Humans
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Telephone