A Curriculum to Improve Pediatric Residents' Telephone Triage Skills

Lauren T. Roth, Mariellen Lane, Suzanne Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Telephone triage systems are frequently used due to their success in decreasing emergency department utilization, reduction of health care costs, and high levels of satisfaction among patients and providers. Despite phone triage's prevalence, few residency programs have designated curricula for residents to learn this vital skill. Methods: We designed a phone triage curriculum initially piloted with senior residents at one of our continuity clinics. The curriculum consisted of a didactic session, a just-in-time simulation training session, and an experiential component of being on call during the ambulatory rotation. Retrospective pre-post self-assessments evaluated resident perceptions of their skills in taking histories and triaging care over the phone in addition to obtaining qualitative feedback from faculty and residents immediately after the curriculum and 1-2 years postgraduation. Results: Of 11 eligible residents, 10 (91%) chose to participate in the pilot curriculum. Residents reported that their skills in history taking over the phone improved from 20% to 90% and their ability to triage patients over the phone improved from 0% to 80%. This led to a quality improvement initiative to increase patient calls and has continued for 5 years, with continued positive feedback from residents and attendings. Discussion: Phone triage skills are a necessity for pediatric providers, but few residency programs have training curricula in place. Through an experience-based phone triage program, residents significantly improved their self-reported skills at history taking and triaging. Similar curricula could easily be adopted at other institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10993
Number of pages1
JournalMedEdPORTAL : the journal of teaching and learning resources
StatePublished - Oct 22 2020


  • Case-Based Learning
  • Clinical/Procedural Skills Training
  • Pediatrics
  • Phone Triage
  • Resident Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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