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What are telephone consultations useful for?

Telephone consultations provide alternative means of consultation with our clients. It is particularly useful for giving general advice on health matters. Telephone consultations are playing an increasingly important role in the delivery of healthcare by General Practitioners and other health Professionals. Their role encompasses the management of acute and chronic conditions, triage, follow-up and delivery of health related advice. There are limitations to the use of telephone consultations as they do NOT provide the non-verbal cues that make up around half of a face to face consultation. Furthermore telephone consultation does not provide the opportunity to confirm the diagnosis with a physical examination leading to the concerns that serious condition may sometimes be missed. A thorough history is essential in the absence of physical examination and signs. It also removes, to a degree, the ability to build rapport and brings with it concerns about confidentiality.