After-hours telephone access to physicians with access to computerized medical records. Experience in an inner-city general medicine clinic

Med Care. 1985 Jan;23(1):20-6. doi: 10.1097/00005650-198501000-00003.


The authors examined the effect of after-hours telephone access to physicians and physician access to computerized medical records on hospitalizations and emergency room (ER) visits in an inner-city, adult, general medicine clinic. Patients were randomly assigned to a control (C) and two study groups (S1 and S2). Patients in study groups S1 and S2 had after-hours telephone access to physicians. Computerized medical records were accessible to physicians only for callers in study group S2. During the initial 18 months of study, only 7.6% of eligible patients called the after-hours service, a rate of 6 calls/1,000 patients/month (200 calls/1,849 patients/18 months). Repeated promotion of the service was subsequently undertaken, and 19.4% of the patients used the service during the final 12 months of study, a rate of 24.1 calls/1,000 patients/month (467 calls/1,616 patients/12 months). There were no significant differences in hospitalizations or ER visits among the control and two study groups.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computers
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Indiana
  • Information Systems
  • Medical Record Linkage*
  • Medical Records*
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Random Allocation
  • Telephone*
  • Time Factors