Telephone consultations in urology: Who, when, where, and why?

Anne-Sophie Blais, Joanie Pelletier, Katherine Moore


Introduction: Telephone consultations are part of a strategy to allow access to medical expertise. Telephone consultations have been feefor- services benefits in the province of Quebec since 2012.1 Recent studies have shown that adequate communication is one of the most common means to prevent disability and death.2 We sought to determine the characteristics of phone consultations made to a tertiary centre’s urologists and to characterize their experience.

Methods: We performed a prospective study using all billing receipts filed by 15 academic urologists for phone consultations received during a 10-month period. A descriptive analysis was done to collect the principal characteristics of all phone calls received. Moreover, an online survey was distributed to those urologists. The survey was composed of 10 multiple-choice questions to review their personal experience.

Results: A total of 678 billing receipts were analyzed. The most common reasons for calls were lithiasis (11.5%), hematuria (10.5%), and urinary retention (8.4%). Most phone calls (57.7%) were made by emergency physicians and family doctors. The majority (88.7%) of calls were placed between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Most of the calls came from the immediate region covered by the group. Our survey demonstrated that urologists pay more attention to document telephone consultations since the introduction of the new remuneration plan. Most urologists found the phone consultations to be relevant.

Conclusions: Lithiasis and hematuria are the primary reasons for telephone consultations. Continuing medical education on these subjects could be worthwhile. The RAMQ remuneration plan has improved documentation of phone consultations by urologists.