Preventing communication errors in telephone medicine
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
Errors in telephone communication can result in outcomes ranging from inconvenience and anxiety to serious compromises in patient safety. Although 25% of interactions between physicians and patients take place on the telphone, little has been written about telephone communication and medical mishaps. Similarly, training in telephone medicine skills is limited; only 6% of residency programs teach any aspect of telephone medicine. Increasing familiarity with common telephone challenges with patients may help physicians decrease the likelihood of negative outcomes. We use case vignettes to highlight communication errors in common telephone scenarios. These scenarios include giving sensitive test results, requests for narcotics, managing ill patients who are not sick enough for the emergency room, dealing with late-night calls, communicating with unintelligible patients, and handling calls from family members. We provide management strategies to minimize the occurrence of these errors.
- Sutcliffe KM, Lewton E, Rosenthal MM. Communication failures: an insidious contributor to medical mishaps. Acad Med. 2004;79:186–94. CrossRef
- Curtis P, Talbot A. The after-hours call in family practice. J Fam Pract. 1979;9:901–9.
- Hannis M, Elnicki M, Morris D, Flannery M. Can you hold please? How internal medicine residents deal with patient telephone calls. Am J Med Sci. 1994;308:349–52. CrossRef
- Greenhouse D, Probst J. After-hours telephone calls in a family practice residency: volume, seriousness, and patient satisfaction. Fam Med. 1995;27:525–30.
- Yanovski SZ, Yanovski JA, Malley JD, Brown RL, Balaban DJ. Telephone triage by primary care physicians. Pediatrics. 1992;89:701–6.
- Hildebrandt D, Westfall J, Smith P. After-hours telephone triage affects patient safety. J Fam Pract. 2003;52:222–7.
- Barenfanger J, Sautter R, Lang D, Collins S, Hacek D, Peterson L. Improving patient safety by repeating (read-back) telephone reports of critical information. Am J Clin Pathol. 2004;121:801–3. CrossRef
- Quill TE, Arnold RM, Platt F. “I wish things were different”: expressing wishes in response to loss, futility, and unrealistic hopes. Ann Intern Med. 2001;135:551–5.
- Meza JP. Patient preferences for laboratory test results notification. Am J Manage Care. 2000;6:1297–300.
- Peres M, Wellman M. Notification of Papanicolau smear results: a survey of women’s experiences and preferred means of notification. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2001;41:82–5.
- Lind SE, Kopans D, Good MJ. Patient’s preferences for learning the result of mammographic examinations. Breast Cancer Res Treatment. 1992;23:223–32. CrossRef
- Lind SE, Delvacchio MJ. Telling the diagnosis of cancer. J Clin Oncol. 1989;7:583–9.
- Anderson TJ. Revised guidelines for HIV counseling, testing, and referral. Technical Expert Panel Review of CDC HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral Guidelines. Atlanta, Ga; 1999.
- Parran T Jr. Prescription drug abuse: a question of balance. Med Clin North Am. 1997;81:967–78. CrossRef
- Fishman TB, Bandman A, Edwards A, Borsook D. The opioid contract in the management of chronic pain. J Pain Symptom Manage. 1999;18:27–37. CrossRef
- Reisman AB, Lipkin M Jr., Pomerantz DH. Difficult patients. In: Reisman AB, Stevens DL, eds. Telephone Medicine: A Guide for the Practicing Physician. Philadelphia, Pa: American College of Physicians; 2002.
- Peters R. After-hours telephone calls to general and subspecialty internists: an observational study. J Gen Intern Med. 1994;9:554–7. CrossRef
- Guy DH. Telephone care for elders: physical, psychosocial, and legal aspects. J Gerontol Nursing. 1995;21:27–34.
- Curtis P. The telephone interview. In: Reisman AB, Stevens DL, eds. Telephone Medicine: A Guide for the Practicing Physician. Philadelphia, Pa: American College of Physicians; 2002.
- Flannery MT, Moses GA, Cykert S, et al. Telephone management training in internal medicine residencies: a national survey of program directors. Acad Med. 1995;70:1138–41. CrossRef
- Mendenhall R. (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). Medical Practice in the United States: A Special Report. 1981.
- Reisman AB, Stevens DL. Telephone Medicine: A Guide for the Practicing Physician. Philadelphia, Pa: American College of Physicians; 2002.
- Thompson DA. Adult Telephone Protocols: Office Version. Elk Grove Village, Ill: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2004.
- Katz HP. Telephone Medicine: Triage and Training for Primary Care. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: F. A. Davis Company; 2001.
- Elnicki DM, Ogden P, Flannery M, Hannis M, Cykert S. Telephone medicine for internists. J Gen Intern Med. 2000;15:337–43. CrossRef
- Reisman AB. A “weak” response. In: AHRQ Web M&M: Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality; December 2004 (http://webmm.ahrq.gov).
- Kierkegaard M, Fish J. Doc-U-Drama: using drama to teach about patient safety. Fam Med. 2004;36:628–30.
- Elnicki DM, Cykert S, Linger B, Ogden P, Hannis M. Effectiveness of a curriculum in telephone medicine. Teaching Learning Med. 1997;10:223–7. CrossRef
- Katz SJ, Moyer CA. The emerging role of online communication between patients and their providers. J Gen Intern Med. 2004;19:978–83. CrossRef
- Beckman HB, Frankel RM. The effect of physician behavior on the collection of data. Ann Intern Med. 1984;101:692–6.
- Marvel MK, Epstein RM, Flowers K, Beckman HB. Soliciting the patient’s agenda: have we improved? JAMA. 1999;281:283–7. CrossRef
- Korsch BM, Gozzi EK, Francis V. Gaps in doctor-patient communication. 1. Doctor-patient interaction and patient satisfaction. Pediatrics. 1968;42:855–71.
- Levinson W, Rotor DL, Mullooly JP, Dull VT, Frankel RM. Physician-patient communication. The relationship with malpractice claims among primary care physicians and surgeons. JAMA. 1997;277:553–9. CrossRef
- Beckman HB, Markakis KM, Suchman AL, Frankel RM. The doctor-patient relationship and malpractice. Lessons from plaintiff depositions. Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:1365–70. CrossRef
- Preventing communication errors in telephone medicine
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume 20, Issue 10 , pp 959-963
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- telephone medicine
- doctor-patient communication
- medical errors
- Industry Sectors