Telephone consultations in place of face to face out-patient consultations for patients discharged from hospital following surgery: a systematic review.
BMC Health Services Research
© Thompson-Coon et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013 This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
BACKGROUND: Routine follow-up following uncomplicated surgery is being delivered by telephone in some settings. Telephone consultations may be preferable to patients and improve outpatient resource use. We aimed to compare the effectiveness of telephone consultations with face to face follow-up consultations, in patients discharged from hospital following surgery. METHODS: Seven electronic databases (including Medline, Embase and PsycINFO) were searched from inception to July 2011. Comparative studies of any design in which routine follow-up via telephone was compared with face to face consultation in patients discharged from hospital after surgery were included. Study selection, data extraction and quality appraisal were performed independently by two reviewers with consensus reached by discussion and involvement of a third reviewer where necessary. RESULTS: Five papers (four studies; 865 adults) met the inclusion criteria. The studies were of low methodological quality and reported dissimilar outcomes precluding any formal synthesis. CONCLUSIONS: There has been very little comparative evaluation of different methods of routine follow-up care in patients discharged from hospital following surgery. Further work is needed to establish a role for telephone consultation in this patient group.
This systematic review is an independent research project funded by National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for the South West (PenCLAHRC). The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, or the Department of Health.
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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