Background The role of the nursing consultation in rheumatology is becoming more prevalent, especially in patient monitoring, reducing the burden of care of rheumatologists in many cases where in-person consultation with the rheumatologist is not required.
Objectives To analyze the usefulness of telephone consultation to nursing staff to resolve doubts and/or health incidents to rheumatic patients and to assess the involvement of physicians on it.
Methods We collected clinical data for the period between June 2012 and January 2013 of all telephone consultation received in the nursing department: clinical and laboratory data, number of calls, characteristics of the proposed consultation and its resolution, and involvement of the rheumatologist in consultations.
Results We registered 122 telephone consultations, in which 77% of cases the nursing staff resolved the consultation (72% of them require the nurse consultant support by the rheumatologist) and in 88.5% of all consultations have required an additional call from the nursing. From the 23% of the queries unresolved by nurses (n=28), 19 cases required telephone consultation with the patient’s rheumatologist, and 7 cases were derived to an in-person appointment with the doctor (5 cases the rheumatologist, 1 to Emergency door and 1 to Primary Care). Patients who performed telephone consultations are mostly diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis (40.2%), ankylosing spondylitis (13.1%) and systemic lupus erythematous (9.8%). 49.2% of the patients were treated with methotrexate, and 35.3% received biologic therapy. Consultations by patients are for different reasons, but the 22.9% of consultations were supply problems in medication, 19.7% were disease outbreaks and 9.8% to check analytical results.
Conclusions Telephone consultation to nurse staff contributes greatly to answer questions from patients about disease outbreaks, as well as problems in treatment and/or analytical results, without the presence of the rheumatologist. It also prevents unnecessary movement of patients, reducing the number of telephone consultations and medical attendance, and helping manage health hospital resources effectively.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared