Telephone consultations for general practice

Added April 18, 2020

Citation: Downes M, Mervin M, Byrnes J, et al. Telephone consultations for general practice: a systematic review. Systematic Reviews 2017; 6: 128

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in widespread social distancing measures. This makes traditional general practice (GP) care more difficult. Telephone consultations may be an alternative to face-to-face GP visits.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for systematic reviews and randomized trials of the effects of GP consultations by telephone. They did their search in September 2015. They included 1 randomized trial comparing a call-back telephone consultation with a same-day face-to-face appointment, one systematic review (including one randomized trial and one observational study) of telephone consultation and triage, and one systematic review (including one randomized trial and 4 observational studies) of telephone consultation.

What works: Telephone GP consultations provide a suitable alternative to face-to-face GP consultations in some settings.

Triage in telephone consultations may reduce workload in some GP settings.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain: The overall effectiveness of telephone GP consultations remains uncertain.


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