Introduction Patients under the care of Gastroenterologists suffer from a wide variety of acute and chronic conditions which often need regular intensive monitoring. This often necessitates frequent outpatient visits and follows up blood tests.
To improve both patient care and efficiency, a telephone clinic led by nurse specialists was instigated.
The patients included those with follow ups of investigations into anaemia, abnormal liver function tests, coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease hepatitis B/C and irritable bowel disease.
Patients, who required drug monitoring, follow up of blood tests, histology and radiological investigations including flare ups of their inflammatory bowel condition were included.
Methods This initial consultation was in a consultant led clinic following which the results were communicated via the telephone clinic in 4–6 weeks. Depending on the initial results further investigations, treatment or follow up was arranged according to clinical need.
Patients with flares of IBD, follow up of treatment of Hepatitis B/C were now directly in contact with nurse led telephone clinics who in turn could give specialist advise and expedite treatment and investigations.
December 2009 were analysed. Similar data from 2005 was used as controlst January 2009 to 31stData regarding outpatient and telephone clinic activities from 1.
Results In 2005 there were 1046 new patients and 3752 follow ups.
In 2009 there were 1227 new patients and 3275 follow ups, 535 of which were seen by the telephone clinic services exclusively. There were no adverse events recorded in this cohort.
The number of follow ups reduced substantially saving clinic time, improving efficiency and allowing us to see extra 17.3% patients.
Conclusion The nurse led telephone clinics have improved efficiency, safety of the gastroenterology services and improved the new to follow up ratio from 0.27 to 0.37. Patient survey data suggests that they were not only happy with the telephone clinic service but would prefer that in order to save time and money.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared.
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