The primary aim of this book is to provide an understanding of what is required when you are engaged in clinical telephone assessments (often referred to as telephone triage or telephone consultations).
The reader will learn real tools and techniques to apply in their daily work for managing calls in busy environments, and will gain insight into identifying and avoiding hazards when carrying out telephone assessments. Deliberately conversationalist in style, this guidebook addresses the preparation, underlying principles and stages in telephone triage and consultations from beginning to end, including when to conclude safely. Each chapter is dedicated to key areas to allow the reader to access precise information. The book argues that the primary purpose of a telephone assessment is not to diagnose, but to determine the need for further assessment and why focussing on diagnosing can be a risk to the patient. It also provides information on how to quality assure your calls, as well as the use of protocols in telephone calls.Based on empirical evidence, the book draws heavily on the author’s own personal experience and knowledge of working in clinical telephone services, and the problems and benefits associated with this highly demanding and risk-laden area. Importantly, it seeks to address the caller’s or patient’s perspective, to ensure the clinician has a better understanding of how they can balance patient needs with workload demands and accessibility. It provides an understanding of the current models of healthcare delivery with the associated pressures on today’s clinicians, including the advent of more intense triage systems being implemented in general practice and looks at how the role of the non clinicians i.e. receptionists or call handlers, impacts on the workload for the clinician.