Does 1177 Vårdguiden influence visits to children's emergency rooms?

This project is a PhD-student project, funded by the University of Skövde. The project studies how 1177 Vårdguiden is followed over the telephone, and how Vårdguiden influences visits to children's emergency rooms.

Barn som sover.

The area of telephone consulting in health care has grown and expanded over the last few years in order to meet demands of availability. Every year, 1177 Vårdguiden på telefon - VPT (Vårdguiden telephone services) receives approximately 5 million phone calls. A nurse evaluates the care required, provides self-care advice, and, if needed, refers the patient to the appropriate care option.

Many of the calls to 1177 come from parents seeking advice concerning their children. As a support in the evaluation, the nurse uses an electronic decision support system. This system is focused on the medical aspects and has been described as both supporting and hindering for the nurse. One of the care levels that the nurse may refer the patient to is an emergency room or a children's emergency room.

Increase in visits to emergency rooms

Today, the tendency is that the number of children and parents that visit emergency rooms is increasing. There are estimates that approximately 30% of the children that visit emergency rooms do not need an emergency evaluation by a paediatrician. The reason for this increase is not known. The purpose of the project is to explain the correlation between medical advice provided by 1177 Vårdguiden and visits to children's emergency rooms by patients who are not considered in need of paediatrician care.

Are patients being referred to the wrong instance?

In the Swedish health care system, we hear about lack of availability and continuity. In addition, there is limited follow-up on the health care practitioners' ability to refer patients to the correct level in the health care chain. Our hypothesis in the project is that approximately 30% of the visits to children's emergency rooms take place because of errors in the referral process. Therefore, it is interesting to study the correlation between 1177 Vårdguiden telephone services and visits to children's emergency rooms.