Pediatric telephone advice: A new medical service in Israel

C. Sher, M. Mimouni, T. Weitzen, Y. Waisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although controversy still exists about dispensing medical advice over the telephone, such services are widely offered by pediatricians in the USA. In Israel, however, such services have not yet been developed. In a joint project of the Moked Keshev (a private medical help line) at Magen David Adom (national ambulance service) and the Children's Medical Center of Israel, the first pediatric telephone advice service in Israel was established. In this study we analyzed 512 consecutive incoming calls received during the first 11 months of service operation. Of these, 42% of calls concerned children in the 1 month to 1 year age group. Unexpectedly, calls were almost evenly distributed throughout the week with a slight decrease on Fridays and Saturdays (sabbath), and 45.7% of the calls were received during the morning shift. The three most common reasons for contact were: of a general nature such as fever (23%), gastrointestinal problems (19%), and medical questions (18%). In only 20.7% of the cases were the patients advised to go to the nearest hospital emergency department, emphasizing the non-emergent nature of the calls. At the time of follow-up (within 24 h), patient status was assessed as: improved (73.7%), same (22.6%), and worse (3.8%). Of those who became worse, none required an emergency department evaluation. The present study demonstrates that a Pediatric Telephone Advice Service in Israel is technically functional, medically safe, and contributes to the health management of children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-656
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Journal of Medical Sciences
Volume30
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Emergency medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Telephone advice

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