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New Zealand Healthline call data used to measure the effect of travel time on the use of the emergency department


  • Griffin, Edward
  • McCarthy, John P.
  • Thomas, Fiona
  • Kingham, Simon


Telephone triage is a health tool increasingly used to connect geographically distant populations. Such services are also utilised to address issues of Emergency Department (ED) overuse. New Zealand's tele-triage service, Healthline, has existed since 2001 but is yet to be the focus of analysis. This research sought to understand the role that travel time to ED had upon Healthline users' compliance with telephone advice. Additionally, the role of deprivation in Healthline (as a determinant of caller behaviour) was examined. Travel time to ED was found to influence the impact of Healthline advice upon callers but this was not confounded by deprivation. Those living closest to the ED were more likely to attend when advised to, and less likely to stay away if told to avoid the ED. Different time brackets showed stronger trends, suggesting that callers at varying distances from EDs may be more or less influenced by both travel time and Healthline advice.

Suggested Citation

  • Griffin, Edward & McCarthy, John P. & Thomas, Fiona & Kingham, Simon, 2017. "New Zealand Healthline call data used to measure the effect of travel time on the use of the emergency department," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 91-96.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:179:y:2017:i:c:p:91-96
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.02.035

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gauld, Robin, 2012. "New Zealand's post-2008 health system reforms: Toward re-centralization of organizational arrangements," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 110-113.
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