Barton D. Schmitt PEDIATRIC TELEPHONE ADVICE Boston: Little Brown, 1980, $14.95
This book is obviously a comprehensive textbook on the subject of pediatrie telephone advice. It, however, contains suggestions that would be difficult to accomplish in the average pediatrie office.
For example: Page I2 suggests that a receptionist receive calls and transfer them to the nurse who is handling sick calls; (he nurse should call back within 30 minutes if there is a backlog. The other is having a clerk, or the same receptionist, make appointments etc. This system is not practical in the average pediatrie office - it is too time consuming.
A similar suggestion is a telephone answering hour for sick children by a nurse from 8 A M to 9 AM. This is not practical since that's when calls are coming in anyway for sick children's appointments. Finally, physician call-backs every two to three hours lasting 15 mimiies can be very expensive since this would amount to about an hour a day of a physician's office time.
Page 22. Table 2 on telephone policy is, in general, a good parent hand-out, with good suggestions for emergency calls. The chapter on emergency telephone protocol is concise and very helpful. The subsequent chapters on telephone protocol are, in general, helpful; however, we are well within the area of physician care and not ancillary personnel giving advice on those numerous subjects.
Finally the suggested management of a differential diagnosis is too long and complex for the phone. For example, eight questions are asked to diagnose a common cold differentially. If an office receives 100 calls on a given morning, there would never be enough personnel or telephone lines to handle all the calls.
In summary, this book is an excellent review of common pediatrie telephone problems. It is good as a reference book in the office, but not too practical for a general pediatrics office telephone handler.