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Table 2 Characteristics of 11,088 healthdirect calls, 1 July 2008–15 December 2011 according to dispositions

From: Compliance with telephone triage advice among adults aged 45 years and older: an Australian data linkage study

Call characteristics Dispositions (N, %a) Total
N (%a)
Attend ED immediately See doctor immediately, in 4 or 24 h Self-care Low-urgencyb
Patient sex
 Male 698 (42.6%) 2319 (36.3%) 538 (32.5%) 523 (37.1%) 4078 (36.8%)
 Female 940 (57.4%) 4065 (63.7%) 1118 (67.5%) 887 (62.9%) 7010 (63.2%)
Patient’s age (at call)
 45–54 344 (21.0%) 1479 (23.2%) 394 (23.8%) 260 (18.4%) 2477 (22.3%)
 55–64 494 (30.2%) 1942 (30.4%) 443 (26.8%) 381 (27.0%) 3260 (29.4%)
 65–74 430 (26.3%) 1601 (25.1%) 430 (26.0%) 376 (26.7%) 2837 (25.6%)
 75+ 370 (22.6%) 1362 (21.3%) 389 (23.5%) 393 (27.9%) 2514 (22.7%)
Time of call
 In-hours 378 (23.1%) 1871 (29.3%) 497 (30.0%) 505 (35.8%) 3251 (29.3%)
 After-hours 1260 (76.9%) 4513 (70.7%) 1159 (70.0%) 905 (64.2%) 7837 (70.7%)
Caller patient relationship
 Self 1214 (74.1%) 5256 (82.3%) 1444 (87.2%) 1266 (89.8%) 9180 (82.8%)
 Spouse, partner 258 (15.8%) 633 (9.9%) 120 (7.2%) 78 (5.5%) 1089 (9.8%)
 Other 152 (9.3%) 441 (6.9%) 78 (4.7%) 60 (4.3%) 731 (6.6%)
 Unknown 14 (0.9%) 54 (0.8%) 14 (0.8%) 6 (0.4%) 88 (0.8%)
Original intention
 Self-care at home 243 (14.8%) 889 (13.9%) 358 (21.6%) 225 (16.0%) 1715 (15.5%)
 Call ambulance or attend ED 519 (31.7%) 1266 (19.8%) 158 (9.5%) 170 (12.1%) 2113 (19.1%)
 Contact doctor or healthcare provider 241 (14.7%) 1706 (26.7%) 328 (19.8%) 389 (27.6%) 2664 (24.0%)
 Did not know what to do 539 (32.9%) 2125 (33.3%) 661 (39.9%) 500 (35.5%) 3825 (34.5%)
 Missing 96 (5.9%) 398 (6.2%) 151 (9.1%) 126 (8.9%) 771 (7.0%)
Triage protocol
 Skin, wound 79 (4.8%) 512 (8.0%) 57 (3.4%) 49 (3.5%) 697 (6.3%)
 Limbs and extremities 118 (7.2%) 738 (11.6%) 126 (7.6%) 93 (6.6%) 1075 (9.7%)
 Bite, burns, chemical exposure 107 (6.5%) 285 (4.5%) 243 (14.7%) 12 (0.9%) 647 (5.8%)
 Respiratory 103 (6.3%) 364 (5.7%) 45 (2.7%) 41 (2.9%) 553 (5.0%)
 Head, neck, face non-injury 67 (4.1%) 255 (4.0%) 27 (1.6%) 110 (7.8%) 459 (4.1%)
 Neurological, headache, seizure 58 (3.5%) 685 (10.7%) 39 (2.4%) 105 (7.4%) 887 (8.0%)
 Abdominal pain or injury 213 (13.0%) 583 (9.1%) 20 (1.2%) 113 (8.0%) 929 (8.4%)
 Cold, flu, fever 24 (1.5%) 281 (4.4%) 66 (4.0%) 18 (1.3%) 389 (3.5%)
 Postoperative 43 (2.6%) 313 (4.9%) 52 (3.1%) 26 (1.8%) 434 (3.9%)
 Cardiac 360 (22.0%) 421 (6.6%) 33 (2.0%) 184 (13.0%) 998 (9.0%)
 Bleeding 82 (5.0%) 305 (4.8%) 36 (2.2%) 84 (6.0%) 507 (4.6%)
 Nausea, vomiting 52 (3.2%) 182 (2.9%) 63 (3.8%) 17 (1.2%) 314 (2.8%)
 Gastrointestinal 67 (4.1%) 316 (4.9%) 79 (4.8%) 203 (14.4%) 665 (6.0%)
 Head, neck, face injury 55 (3.4%) 141 (2.2%) 48 (2.9%) 27 (1.9%) 271 (2.4%)
 Seen by a provider earlier 0 (0.0%) 293 (4.6%) 180 (10.9%) 88 (6.2%) 562 (5.1%)
 Other symptoms 210 (12.8%) 710 (11.1%) 542 (32.7%) 240 (17.0%) 1701 (15.3%)
Total 1638 (100%) 6384 (100%) 1656 (100%) 1410 (100%) 11,088 (100%)
  1. a: Percentage of the column
  2. b: Including dispositions: see doctor in 72 h or 2 weeks, see a dentist in 72 h, in 2 weeks or when available, see a health provider in 72 h, in 2 weeks or when available