The authors examined the effect of after hours telephone access to physicians and physician access to computerized medical records on hospitalizations and emergency room ER visits in an inner city, adult, general medicine clinic. Patients were randomly assigned to a control C and two study groups S1 and S2. Patients in study groups SI and S2 had after hours telephone access to physicians. Computerized medical records were accessible to physicians only for callers in study group S2. During the initial 18 months of study, only 7.6% of eligible patients called the after hours service, a rate of 6 calls/1,000 patients/ month 200 calls/1,849 patients/18 months. Repeated promotion of the service was subsequently undertaken, and 19.4% of the patients used the service during the final 12 months of study, a rate of 24.1 calls/1,000 patients/month 467 calls/ 1,616 patients/12 months. There were no significant differences in hospitalizations or ER visits among the control and two study groups.
- Comprehensive health care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health