Introduction There is conflicting viewpoints regarding phone versus email referral systems within acute neurology.
Methods Our study evaluates the referrals system at University College London Hospital. We assessed how effective the pre-existing phone system was at managing referrals and compared this to a newly implemented email system. Over a month period the neurology phone call-log was interrogated. We recorded incoming and outgoing calls (missed and received), timing and call duration. After the email system was implemented, we assessed the email-logs over a month period.
Results With the phone system nighty nine incoming and 54 outgoing calls were recorded. Of these, 63% incoming calls were missed and 37% outgoing calls were not answered. Fridays were the busiest day of the week with 33% of the total calls (6% Mondays, 22% Tuesdays, 20% Wednesday, 19% Thursday). Most calls were received between 09:00 – 10:00 (25% of total) & 16:00 – 17:00 (22% of total). With the email system, 45 referrals were received electronically. Of these, all were responded to within 24 hours.
Conclusions The phone referral system was not fit for purpose with 63% of incoming calls missed. The electronic system was associated with far-reaching improvements in managing referrals.
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