We studied our practice of using nurse telephone follow-up under physician direction to assess symptom improvement and patient satisfaction.Methods
Women were recruited when their clinical care merited nurse telephone follow-up in the opinion of the attending physician. Women specified a preferred telephone number and completed a symptom questionnaire at the time of enrollment. Nursing telephone follow-up was completed at an interval prescribed by the attending physician to answer specified clinical questions. Approximately 3 months after the initial in-office visit, a satisfaction questionnaire and repeat symptom measure were mailed to the subjects.Results
A convenience sample of 83 women was analyzed. Of those, 91.6% were reached by telephone, and 47.0% returned the follow-up questionnaire. Mean (SD) age was 56.8 (16.6) years (range, 20–89 years). Younger women were less likely to be able to be contacted by telephone (P = 0.02) and less likely to return the questionnaire (P = 0.02). Most common diagnoses were overactive bladder and mixed urinary incontinence. Satisfaction rates were high, and level of convenience for patients was high. Women indicated an ease of speaking over the telephone about their condition and confidence in the treatment plan. Satisfaction with telephone follow-up did not significantly differ based on age or diagnosis.Conclusions
Patient satisfaction was high for nurse telephone follow-up to replace in-office visits for selected diagnoses. This care strategy deserves further consideration for reimbursement purposes as health care evolves.