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Since 1879, the year of the first documented medical telephone consultation, the ability to consult by telephone has become an integral part of modern patient‐centred healthcare systems. Nowadays, up to a quarter of all care consultations are conducted by telephone. Studies have quantified the impact of medical telephone consultation on clinicians’ workload and detected the need for quality improvement. While doctors routinely receive training in communication and consultation skills, this does not necessarily include the specificities of telephone communication and consultation. Several studies assessed the short‐term effect of interventions aimed at improving clinicians’ telephone consultation skills, but there is no systematic review reporting patient‐oriented outcomes or outcomes of interest to clinicians.
To assess the effects of training interventions for clinicians’ telephone consultation skills and patient outcomes.
We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, five other electronic databases and two trial registers up to 19 May 2016, and we handsearched references, checked citations and contacted study authors to identify additional studies and data.
We considered randomised controlled trials, non‐randomised controlled trials, controlled before‐after studies and interrupted time series studies evaluating training interventions compared with any control intervention, including no intervention, for improving clinicians’ telephone consultation skills with patients and their impact on patient outcomes.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently selected studies for inclusion, extracted data and assessed the risk of bias of eligible studies using standard Cochrane and EPOC guidance and the certainty of evidence using GRADE. We contacted study authors where additional information was needed. We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane for data analysis.
We identified one very small controlled before‐after study performed in 1989: this study used a validated tool to assess the effects of a training intervention on paediatric residents’ history‐taking and case management skills. It reported no difference compared to no intervention, but authors did not report any quantitative analyses and could not supply additional data. We rated this study as being at high risk of bias. Based on GRADE, we assessed the certainty of the evidence as very low, and consequently it is uncertain whether this intervention improves clinicians’ telephone skills.
We did not find any study assessing the effect of training interventions for improving clinicians’ telephone communication skills on patient primary outcomes (health outcomes measured by validated tools or biomedical markers or patient behaviours, patient morbidity or mortality, patient satisfaction, urgency assessment accuracy or adverse events).
Telephone consultation skills are part of a wider set of remote consulting skills whose importance is growing as more and more medical care is delivered from a distance with the support of information technology. Nevertheless, no evidence specifically coming from telephone consultation studies is available, and the training of clinicians at the moment has to be guided by studies and models based on face‐to‐face communication, which do not consider the differences between these two communicative dimensions. There is an urgent need for more research assessing the effect of different training interventions on clinicians’ telephone consultation skills and their effect on patient outcomes.
Humans, Case Management, Communication, Medical History Taking, Remote Consultation, Telephone, Controlled Before‐After Studies
Training interventions for improving telephone consultation skills in clinicians
Alberto Vaona, Yannis Pappas, Rumant S Grewal, Mubasshir Ajaz, Azeem Majeed, Josip Car
Clostridium acetobutylicum, a gram-positive and spore-forming anaerobe, is a major strain for the fermentative production of acetone, butanol and ethanol. But a previously isolated hyper-butanol producing strain C. acetobutylicum EA 2018 does not produce spores and has greater capability of solvent production, especially for butanol, than the type strain C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824.
Complete genome of C. acetobutylicum EA 2018 was sequenced using Roche 454 pyrosequencing. Genomic comparison with ATCC 824 identified many variations which may contribute to the hyper-butanol producing characteristics in the EA 2018 strain, including a total of 46 deletion sites and 26 insertion sites. In addition, transcriptomic profiling of gene expression in EA 2018 relative to that of ATCC824 revealed expression-level changes of several key genes related to solvent formation. For example, spo0A and adhEII have higher expression level, and most of the acid formation related genes have lower expression level in EA 2018. Interestingly, the results also showed that the variation in CEA_G2622 (CAC2613 in ATCC 824), a putative transcriptional regulator involved in xylose utilization, might accelerate utilization of substrate xylose.
Comparative analysis of C. acetobutylicum hyper-butanol producing strain EA 2018 and type strain ATCC 824 at both genomic and transcriptomic levels, for the first time, provides molecular-level understanding of non-sporulation, higher solvent production and enhanced xylose utilization in the mutant EA 2018. The information could be valuable for further genetic modification of C. acetobutylicum for more effective butanol production.
Comparative genomic and transcriptomic analysis revealed genetic characteristics related to solvent formation and xylose utilization in Clostridium acetobutylicum EA 2018
Shiyuan Hu, Huajun Zheng, Yang Gu, Jingbo Zhao, Weiwen Zhang, Yunliu Yang, Shengyue Wang, Guoping Zhao, Sheng Yang, Weihong Jiang