The Best Practice for Increasing Telephone Outreach: An Integrative Review

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Abstract

Purpose of Study:

Many hospitals established telephone follow-up (TFU) programs to improve care transitions and reduce hospital readmissions. However, there is a lack of knowledge on how to increase the outreach of TFU programs. This integrative review aims to answer the clinical practice question, “What is the best practice for increasing telephone follow-up reach rates post-hospital discharge?”

Primary Practice Setting:

The primary setting evaluated in this review was hospital-based phone call programs that are conducting post-hospital discharge TFU.

Methodology:

In this integrative review, we searched studies published between January 2003 and November 2017. We searched 5 electronic databases including PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Cochrane. The Johns Hopkins Nursing Evidence-Based Practice model was used to critically analyze and synthesize the selected articles.

Results:

Nine articles were reviewed, and this study uncovered that pre-hospital face-to-face meeting might increase TFU reach rates. However, most studies calculated reach rates using only frequencies/percentages. This contributed to our low-quality rating on most of the reviewed studies.

Implications for Case Management Practice:

This review identified that TFU, as a component of a care coordination program, may reduce hospital readmissions and control health care utilization. However, few studies (n = 2) used TFU reach rates as a major study outcome to determine the impact of face-to-face meetings on phone outreach. Therefore, the evidence is limited to inform case management practice to increase phone outreach post-hospital discharge. It is recommended to conduct further research and test different methods that may increase phone outreach.

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