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The epidemiology of demand for and outcomes of contacts with telephone based healathcare with particular reference to ward deprivation scores: Analysis of calls to NHS Direct Wales 2002-2004. / ,
Swansea University Author: ,
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NHS Direct Wales (NHSDW) is a nurse-led 24-hour health advice and information line. This study estimated the effect of deprivation on the demand for, and outcome of, direct calls to NHSDW after controlling for potentially confounding factors.The author analysed anonymous data from NHSDW on 410,000 c...
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NHS Direct Wales (NHSDW) is a nurse-led 24-hour health advice and information line. This study estimated the effect of deprivation on the demand for, and outcome of, direct calls to NHSDW after controlling for potentially confounding factors.The author analysed anonymous data from NHSDW on 410,000 calls over 2.5 years, including patient characteristics (age, gender, relationship to caller, ward of residence) and call characteristics (whether for triage or information, day of call). To each call she added ward data including: the corresponding Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation score; population density; and distance from nearest Emergency Department (ED). She used multiple linear regression to model the relationship between deprivation and demand and binary logistic regression to model the relationship between deprivation and outcome.Confounding variables explained 33.0% of variation in advice call rates; and 27.5% of that in information call rates (both significant at 0.1% level). Deprivation was not a statistically significant predictor of these rates (significance levels 0.158 and 0.244 respectively). Deprivation had more effect on outcomes: an increase in deprivation from one fifth to the next fifth increased by 13% the probability of receiving advice to call 999 emergency care within triage calls [Odds ratio (OR) 1.127; 95% confidence interval (Cl) from 1.113 to 1.143]; and that of receiving advice to seek care face to face rather than self care by 5% (OR 1.049; Cl from 1.041 to 1.058) for triage calls and by 3% (OR 1.034; Cl from 1.022 to 1.047) for information calls.In short, deprivation had no detectable effect on demand for calls, but a positive effect on the outcome of the call. While it is possible that the data underestimated the ‘need’ of deprived patients for healthcare, they yield no evidence that NHSDW should seek to improve access from those patients
NHS Direct Wales, health
Swansea University Medical School