Document Detail

High call volume at poison control centers: identification and implications for communication.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22889059     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
CONTEXT: High volume surges in health care are uncommon and unpredictable events. Their impact on health system performance and capacity is difficult to study.
OBJECTIVES: To identify time periods that exhibited very busy conditions at a poison control center and to determine whether cases and communication during high volume call periods are different from cases during low volume periods.
METHODS: Call data from a US poison control center over twelve consecutive months was collected via a call logger and an electronic case database (Toxicall®).Variables evaluated for high call volume conditions were: (1) call duration; (2) number of cases; and (3) number of calls per staff member per 30 minute period. Statistical analyses identified peak periods as busier than 99% of all other 30 minute time periods and low volume periods as slower than 70% of all other 30 minute periods. Case and communication characteristics of high volume and low volume calls were compared using logistic regression.
RESULTS: A total of 65,364 incoming calls occurred over 12 months. One hundred high call volume and 4885 low call volume 30 minute periods were identified. High volume periods were more common between 1500 and 2300 hours and during the winter months. Coded verbal communication data were evaluated for 42 high volume and 296 low volume calls. The mean (standard deviation) call length of these calls during high volume and low volume periods was 3 minutes 27 seconds (1 minute 46 seconds) and 3 minutes 57 seconds (2 minutes 11 seconds), respectively. Regression analyses revealed a trend for fewer overall verbal statements and fewer staff questions during peak periods, but no other significant differences for staff-caller communication behaviors were found.
CONCLUSION: Peak activity for poison center call volume can be identified by statistical modeling. Calls during high volume periods were similar to low volume calls. Communication was more concise yet staff was able to maintain a good rapport with callers during busy call periods. This approach allows evaluation of poison exposure call characteristics and communication during high volume periods.
E M Caravati; S Latimer; M Reblin; H K W Bennett; M R Cummins; B I Crouch; L Ellington
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2012-08-13
Journal Detail:
Title:  Clinical toxicology (Philadelphia, Pa.)     Volume:  50     ISSN:  1556-9519     ISO Abbreviation:  Clin Toxicol (Phila)     Publication Date:  2012 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-08-28     Completed Date:  2012-11-05     Revised Date:  2012-12-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101241654     Medline TA:  Clin Toxicol (Phila)     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  781-7     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Utah Poison Control Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Databases, Factual
Logistic Models
Models, Statistical*
Poison Control Centers / standards,  statistics & numerical data*
Regression Analysis
Telephone / statistics & numerical data*
Time Factors
United States
Erratum In:
Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2012 Nov;50(9):867

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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