Self-triage for acute primary care via a smartphone application: Practical, safe and efficient?
By: Verzantvoort NCM, Teunis T, Verheij TJM, van der Velden AW.
PLoS ONE 2018 Jun 26;13(6):e0199284.
Summary: The authors aimed to investigate whether the smartphone application “Should I see a doctor?” (in Dutch:”moet ik naar de dokter?”) could guide patients in appropriate consultation at out-of-hours (OOH) primary care clinics by focusing on four topics: 1) app usage, 2) user satisfaction, 3) whether the app provides the correct advice, and 4) whether users intend to follow the advice. The app is a self-triage tool for acute primary care. A built-in questionnaire asked users about the app’s clarity, their satisfaction and whether they intended to follow the app’s advice (n = 4456). A convenience sample of users was phoned by a triage nurse (reference standard) to evaluate whether the app’s advice corresponded with the outcome of the triage call (n = 126). The app was used by patients of all ages, also by parents for their children, and mostly for abdominal pain, skin disorders and cough. 58% of users received the advice to contact the clinic, 34% got self-care advice, while 8% were given advice for wait-and-see. 65% of users intended to follow the app’s advice. The app was rated as ‘neutral’ to ‘very clear’ by 87%, and 89% were ‘neutral’ to ‘very satisfied’. In 81% of participants the app’s advice corresponded to the triage call outcome, with sensitivity, specificity, positive- and negative predictive values of 84%, 74%, 88% and 67%, respectively.