The quality, safety and content of telephone and face-to-face consultations: a comparative study

Brian McKinstry*, Victoria S. Hammersley, Christopher Burton, Hilary Pinnock, Rob Elton, J. Dowell, N. Sawdon, D. Heaney, G. Elwyn, A. Sheikh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Telephone consulting is increasingly used to improve access to care and optimise resources for day-time work. However, there remains a debate about how such consultations differ from face-to-face consultations in terms of content quality and/or safety. To investigate this, a comparison of family doctors' telephone and face-to-face consultations was conducted.106 audio-recordings (from 19 doctors in nine practices) of telephone and face-to-face consultations, stratified at doctor level, were compared using the Roter Interaction Analysis Scale (RIAS) (content measure), the OPTION (observing patient involvement in decision making scale) and a modified scale based on the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) consultation assessment instrument (measuring quality and safety). Patient satisfaction and enablement were measured using validated instruments. The Roter Interaction Analysis Scale scores were compared by multiple linear regression adjusting for covariates; other continuous measures by chi(2) and Student t tests and binary measures as odds ratios.Telephone consultations were shorter (4.6 vs 9.7 min, p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-303
JournalQuality & Safety in Health Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

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