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In primary care out of hours service (OHS-PC), triage nurses ask questions to assign urgency level for medical assessment. A semi-automatic decision tool (the Netherlands Triage Standard, NTS) facilitates triage nurses with key questions, but does not leave much room for paying attention to callers' concerns. We wanted to understand how callers with chest pain formulate their concerns and are helped further during telephone triage. We conducted a conversation analytic study of 68 triage calls from callers with chest discomfort who contacted OHS-PC of which we selected 35 transcripts in which concerns were raised. We analyzed expressions of concerns and the corresponding triage nurse response. Due to the task-oriented nature of the NTS, callers' concerns were overlooked. For callers, however, discussing concerns was relevant, stressed by the finding that the majority of callers with chest discomfort expressed concerns. Interactional difficulties in concern-related discussions arised directly after expressed concerns if not handled adequately, or during the switch to the counseling phase. When callers display concerns during telephone triage, we recommend triage nurses to explore them briefly and then return to the sequence of tasks described in the NTS-assisted triage process. Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Michelle Spek, Tessa C van Charldorp, Vera V Vinck, Roderick P Venekamp, Frans H Rutten, Dorien L Zwart, Esther de Groot. Displaying concerns within telephone triage conversations of callers with chest discomfort in out-of-hours primary care: A conversation analytic study. Patient education and counseling. 2023 Aug;113:107770

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PMID: 37150153

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