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The Nature and Volume of Telephone Calls
In a Specialty Headache Practice
Loder, E.W.
Posted October 2002  
Headache  2002; 42:416

Objective:   To identify the nature and volume of telephone calls to a specialty headache practice over a one-month period.

Materials and Methods:   All patient-related calls to a single headache practitioner occurring during July 2001 were logged. Information was obtained on the subject of the call, its length, time of day, stated importance. Information regarding the patientís principal headache diagnosis, and principal comorbid psychiatric disorder, if any, was also recorded.

Conclusions:   Patients with chronic daily headache and personality disorder contribute disproportionately to the telephone burden of a specialty headache practice. Their use of telephone services is likely one aspect of their overall "distressed high utilizer" health care behavior. These patients are less common in general practice than specialty settings, but may still contribute to negative physician perceptions about headache patients in general. Efforts seem warranted to identify these patients and develop interventions to appropriately decrease telephone use.