Comparison between two caller groups of a medical call centre in Switzerland

Ackermann Rau, S; Zwahlen, M (2008). Comparison between two caller groups of a medical call centre in Switzerland. Das Gesundheitswesen, 70(5), pp. 295-304. Stuttgart: Thieme 10.1055/s-2008-1078726

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OBJECTIVES: The incidence distribution of triage advice in the medical call centre Medi24 and the pattern of service utilisation were analysed with respect to two groups of callers with different insurance schemes. Individuals having contracted insurance of the Medi24 model could use the telephone consultation service of the medical call centre Medi24 (mainly part of the mandatory basic health insurance) voluntarily and free of charge whereas individuals holding an insurance policy of the Telmed model (special contract within the mandatory basic health insurance with a premium discount ranging from 8% to 12%) were obliged to have a telephone consultation before arranging an appointment with a medical doctor. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out in the medical call centre Medi24 based on all triage datasets of the Medi24 and Telmed groups collected during the one year period from July 1st 2005 to June 30th 2006. The distribution of the six different urgency levels within the two groups and their respective pattern of service utilisation was determined. In a multivariable logistic regression model the Odds Ratio for every enquiry originating from the Telmed group versus those originating from the Medi24 group was calculated. RESULTS: During a one-year period 48 388 triage requests reached the medical call centre Medi24, 56% derived from the Telmed group and 44% from the Medi24 group. Within the Medi24 group more than 25% of the individuals received self-care advice, within the Telmed group, on the other hand, only about 18% received such advice. In contrast, 27% of the Telmed triage requests but only 18% of the Medi24 triage requests resulted in the advice to make a routine appointment with a medical doctor. The probability that an individual of the Telmed group obtained the advice to go to the accident and emergency department was lower than for an individual of the Medi24 group (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.60-0.99). Likewise, the probability of self-care advice was decreased in regard to the Medi24 group (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.75-0.85). However, regarding the advice to make a routine appointment with a medical doctor, the Telmed group was represented more frequently than the Medi24 group (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.28-1.44). CONCLUSION: In respect of the triage advice, the Telmed group differed significantly from the Medi24 group within all urgency levels. The differences between the two groups in respect of the advice given were still less pronounced than expected against the background of their different contract conditions and the disparate temporal pattern of utilisation. We interprete this finding with the fact that appraising the urgency of health problems appropriately seems to be very difficult for the majority of people seeking advice.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Zwahlen, Marcel










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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:04

Last Modified:

21 Apr 2020 12:36

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URI: (FactScience: 113520)

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