The same basic information must be recorded for every telephone call: date;
time; name and age of the patient; telephone number; symptoms; disposition
of the call; whether it is a repeat call; and the person handling the call. In
most offices, the only practical way to record this information is in a telephone
log. It is too difficult to pull patient charts for every call. Using a central
telephone log also allows the supervising physician to monitor the
management of calls in the office. The problem with telephone logs is that
they can prevent important medical information from being incorporated into
the patient’s chart.
There must be a protocol to determine what information should be transcribed
from the telephone log into the patient’s chart. This problem will be eased
considerably if the physician uses a telephone log with a preprinted
information form on 2-part carbonless paper. Ideally, the copy of every call slip
will be filed into the patient’s chart. If this is impossible, it is critical to transfer
all treatment recommendations, prescriptions, refill call-ins, referrals to the
emergency room, and repeat calls for the same problem.