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Table 2 Description of reviews

From: The quality, safety and governance of telephone triage and advice services – an overview of evidence from systematic reviews

Author and Year Country Review Type Focus of Review Aim Included Study Designs Date Range of Included Studies Method of Quality Assessment AMSTAR Quality Rating
Blank et al. [14] 2012 UK Rapid evidence assessment TTAS To synthesise evidence about the appropriateness of and compliance with telephone triage decisions. 52 observational studies
2 RCTs
1992–2010 No documented assessment method 5
Brebner et al. [33] 2006 UK Systematic review A & E tele-consultations To conduct a systematic review of evidence about accident and emergency tele-consultation services. 31 in total; 2 RCTs; mostly demonstration and feasibility studies rather than full-scale trials. 1996–2004 No documented assessment method 4
Bunn et al. [27] 2004 UK Cochrane Review TTAS To assess the effects of telephone consultation on safety, service usage and patient satisfaction, and compare telephone consultation by different healthcare professionals. 5 RCTs 1 CCT 3 Interrupted time series 1979–2002 Modified EPOC checklist (Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Review Group) [29] 8
Carrasqueiro et al. [7] 2011 Portugal Systematic Review TTAS To review TTAS evaluation studies, compile methodologies and metrics used and compare results. 2 qualitative 18 observational 1 decision analysis 31 experimental 1994–2010 Modified economic evaluation checklist 2
Chapman et al. [15] 2004 UK Systematic review Recent primary care innovations which included telephone consultations with GPs or nurses To review the evidence of seven recent innovations (including TTAS-related operations) in service provision to improve access or equity in access to primary care. 4 RCTs
1 Pilot evaluation
1 Lit review
5 observational/descriptive
1993–2003 Hierarchy of evidence assessment, levels 1–3 7
Fry, M. [11] 2011 Australia Systematic review After-hours care models To examine the impact of afterhours primary care models on other healthcare providers, and to examine the effectiveness of after-hours services. 5 RCTs 24 Time series, before and after, or comparative 1985–2009 CASP checklist [31] 4
Huibers et al. [12] 2011 The Netherlands Systematic review TTAS To assess the research evidence on safety of telephone triage in out-of-hours primary care. 33 Total 2 RCTs, 1 case study 30 observational 1989–2011 No documented assessment method 3
Ismail et al. [28] 2013 UK Systematic review Primary care interventions (including TTAS) To review the evidence on primary care service interventions aimed at reducing inappropriate A&E/ ED visits. 6 systematic reviews 13 before and after or interrupted time series 7 cross sectional 6 non-comparative case studies 1 cohort 1 Non-randomised CT 1997–2006 SIGN checklist [32] 5
Leibowitz et al. [30] 2003 Australia Systematic review After-hours primary care services including TTAS A review of the existing evidence about the effects of different models of out-of-hours primary care services on outcome 3 RCTs 2 reviews 1 Evaluation 11 observational/descriptive 1978–2000 Hierarchy of evidence assessment 4
Purc-Stephenson et al. [6] 2012 Canada Meta-analytic review TTAS To investigate the extent to which patients comply with triage advice from tele-nurses and to identify factors potentially affecting compliance. 1 RCT 5 Observational studies 6 Prospective studies 1 Prospective quasi experimental 1997–2010 CASP checklist
  1. TTAS Telephone Triage and Advice Services, AMSTAR A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews, RCT Randomised Controlled Trial, CCT Controlled Clinical Trial, CT Controlled Trial, CASP Critical Appraisal Skills Programme, SIGN Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, A&E Accident and Emergency, ED Emergency Department, EPOC Effective Practice and Organisation of Care