Telephone communication in IBD care helps to identify patients at risk of high-cost medical interventions

Published on February 10, 2014 at 1:04 AM · No Comments
    • Problem/follow-up (incoming calls from patients), representing 52 percent of all calls
    • Resolution/plan (outgoing calls to patients), representing 25 percent of all calls
    • Refill requests/pharmacy contacts, representing 12 percent of all calls
    • Insurance authorization, representing 10 percent of all calls
    • Completion of forms or record requests, representing 1 percent of all calls

    Researchers also measured telephone encounters logged into electronic medical records in consented subjects from a prospective IBD research registry. Patients calling more than 10 times per year were considered high telephone encounters.

    Results showed that:

    • Telephone calls are predictors of how likely patients are to enter the emergency room: clusters of phone calls over time were highly predictive of who ended up in the hospital over the course of the next year.
    • Frequent telephone calls correlated with:
      • Poorly controlled inflammation of IBD
      • Patients with a high degree of pain and difficulty coping

    "We believe we will ultimately be able to use this information to prevent hospitalization, since we now have better insight into the heterogeneous factors which are getting our patients into trouble," added Dr. Binion. "Our next step is to set up an intervention trial, where patterns of telephone activity will be used as an early warning strategy to identify at-risk patients. Perhaps the most important aspect of the study was its simplicity and generalizability, as records of telephone communication in health care are an important part of electronic health records available throughout the U.S."

    Source: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

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