The out of hours primary care telephone service tests an “emergency acces”-button from AU
From 20 January the out of hours primary care telephone service in the Central Denmark Region tests an "emergency access"-button that can get people quickly through on the telephone – even though the line has a queue. A PhD student from Aarhus University is behind the idea.
Is it urgent that you get hold of the duty doctor after 16:00 or at the weekend – or is it extremely urgent? This is a question that people in the Central Denmark Region will have to ask themselves if they call the out of hours primary care on 7011 3131 during the period from 20 January to 3 February.
A pilot project from Aarhus University will test whether it is a good idea to give people the opportunity to skip the telephone queue, so they can get to talk to the doctor on the other end of the line as quickly as possible, if there are serious symptoms – such as chest pain og shortness of breath.
On this basis, everyone who calls the out of hours primary care telephone service during the next two weeks will be met by a telephone answering machine. They will be asked whether they are willing to take part in testing the “acute button”.
Press “9” if it is urgent
The project simply gives callers the opportunity to press "9” on their phone if they have an urgent need to get the symptoms assessed. By pressing “9” they can go directly to first position in any telephone queue, no matter how many people are already waiting.
If the “acute button” is to be introduced permanently in the future, the doctor will be able to send people back to the queue if they abuse the system.
"The really big question is whether having this opportunity will increase the patient’s peace of mind, and whether it can perhaps reduce unnecessary calls to the 112 emergency number ," says the inventor of the system, medical doctor and PhD student Jonas Fynboe Manniche Ebert from The Research Unit for General Practice at Aarhus University.
"Of course, we will also study how much the scheme will increase waiting time for those who do not press “9”, that is whether the “emergency access”-button will also entail longer queues," he adds.
Taking part in the test will not be compulsory
Everyone who calls the out of hours primary care telephone service during the test period can either say yes or no to participate. Around half of them will be given the opportunity to skip the queue and a random sample of these will be sent a questionnaire, which in turn will form the basis for assessing the “emergency access” scheme.
If the pilot project goes well, the plan is to implement a longer trial run in both the Capital Region and the Central Denmark Region.
- The out of hours primary care in the Central Denmark Region received 696,000 calls in 2014. In five per cent of these cases, the caller’s own assessment was that it was necessary to talk to a medical doctor immediately. In connection with one per cent of all calls, the duty doctor requested an ambulance immediately.
- The Danish Health and Medicines Authority has granted permission for the test.
- The pilot project is part of Jonas Fynboe Manniche Ebert’s PhD project at Aarhus University, The Research Unit for General Medical Practice, and has been financed by the TrygFonden foundation, among others.