Telephone triage: Results of adolescent clinic responses to a mock patient with pelvic pain

Richard E. Rupp, Keith P. Ramsey, John D. Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the appropriateness of telephone advice given by adolescent clinics. Methods: Using a mock scenario simulated by a teenage actress, adolescent clinics nationwide were telephoned by a 16-year-old female complaining of acute onset of "belly pain" in her left lower side. Upon questioning the mock patient, clinics were able to obtain further information. In short, it could be determined that the mock patient was sexually active, did not use contraception, was "late" for her period, and had just begun spotting. With the information available, a potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy could not be ruled out. Telephone triage of 35 clinics was evaluated according to the final disposition. Appropriate advice included arranging to see the patient that day or referring the patient to another facility (i.e., emergency department) to be seen that day. Results: Sixty-three percent of the clinics gave appropriate advice; 37% gave inappropriate advice. Nonprofessional personnel rendered the advice in over 60% of the calls. Conclusion: This study suggests a need to reevaluate the procedures utilized to provide proper telephone advice to adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-253
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Telephone triage Adolescent clinic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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