Translated title of the contribution: The telephone advice in pediatric practice

G. Paulon, A. Ventura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The results of two studies concerning the use of a telephone in pediatric practice are reported and discussed. In the first study (performed with the contribution of pediatricians of a University Department of Pediatrics, of two District Hospitals and of two pediatric offices), 177 telephone calls were analyzed with respect to their content, motivations, conclusions, and accuracy of diagnosis. In the second study, 203 telephone calls on simulated problems have been performed and proposed to 149 pediatricians and 56 nurses working in Region, Province and District Hospitals to evaluate the attitude of the health workers toward the telephone advice; the accuracy of their anamnesis; their ability to make correct diagnosis; and their proficiency to be convincing, clear and reassuring. Results from the first study indicate that the most frequent reason for phone calls (in agreement with the data from the literature) was related to common acute illnesses (65%) and to advise about well-child care (20%). When the child was subsequently directly seen, the consistency could be established in 83% of cases. In the other cases, no serious diagnostic error and no harmful consequence for the child was observed. The results of the second study show the following. A different attitude towards phone advice between physicians and nurses: 34% of the pediatricians, compared to 6% of District Hospitals nurses, rejected the calls. An incomplete accuracy in collecting anamnestic details: only 40% of informations necessary to exclude a serious, possibly life-threatening, illness have been asked for. Moreover, it would seem that the pediatricians don't care enough about being clearly understood and providing satisfactory reassurance to the family; once more, nurses appear to be more interested in giving advice by telephone.

Translated title of the contributionThe telephone advice in pediatric practice
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)715-726
Number of pages12
JournalRivista Italiana di Pediatria
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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