Summary Report

Data from Years 2004 to 2016

This report summarizes medical call center encounter data (6,564,312 patients) for calendar years 2004-2016. This data was collected

The data set for calendar year 2016 consisted of 592,295 patients. There were 283,137 pediatric patients (defined as age 0-20 years) and 309,568 adult patients (defined as age 21 years and older). Eight call centers submitted data for 2016.

Every telehealth encounter begins with a chief complaint or reason for visit. The top 25 pediatric reasons for call (Coded Chief Complaints) for 2016 are shown in the table below. The top 25 reasons for call were given by parents in 58% (cumulative percentage) of all pediatric telephone triage calls. The three most commonly used reasons for call were Vomiting, Cough, and Nose Discharge.

The top 25 adult reasons for call (Coded Chief Complaints) for 2016 are shown in the table below. The top 25 reasons for call were given by patients in 52% (cumulative percentage) of all adult telephone triage calls. The three most commonly used reasons for call were Medication Symptom or Question, Abdomen Pain, and Vaginal Bleeding.

 

The top 20 Schmitt-Thompson Clinical Content (STCC) telephone triage guidelines used for pediatric patients are shown in the table below. The top 20 guidelines were used in 55% (cumulative percentage) of all pediatric telephone triage calls. The three most commonly used telephone triage guidelines were Cough, Colds, and Vomiting Without Diarrhea.

The top 20 STCC telephone triage guidelines used for adult patients are shown in the table below. The top 20 guidelines were used in 46% (cumulative percentage) of all adult telephone triage calls. The three most commonly used telephone triage guidelines were Medication Question Call, Chest Pain, and Sore Throat.

 

The triage disposition results were collapsed into 6 primary disposition groupings. The assigned disposition for a patient call reflects the selected triage question(s) and outcome. It does not reflect over-ride or other subsequent changes in final triage outcome. The six disposition groupings were:

  • EMS 911
  • ED
  • 4H (See Within 4 Hours)
  • PCP Appt
  • Home Care (Self Care)
  • Other

Each disposition percentage rate in the tables below represents the median value for all of the participating call centers. This means that for every value, half of the call centers had a lower disposition rate and half had a higher disposition rate. Since these are median values, the total for each column may not sum to 100%.

Citation:  Thompson DA. Medical Call Center Benchmarking Report: 2004 to 2016. An analysis of 6.5 million triage calls from 16 medical call centers. The full report is available to participating call centers. 2017.

Related References

  • Brown K, Tabone G, Thompson DA. The impact of telephone triage on healthcare costs – an analysis of caller intent and outcomes. 2018. Abstract and Chart.
  • Thompson DA, Eitel D. Coded Chief Complaints – Automated Analysis of Free-Text Complaints. Fernandes CMB, Pines JM, Amsterdam J, Davidson SJ. Acad Emerg Med. 2006;13:774-782. PubMed Abstract. Abstract and Chart.

Related Links

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