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Call me, later! Patients’ experiences of Swedish healthcare call-back services and access to healthcare

Journal article
Authors Magnea Unnarsdottir
Henry Ascher
Jonas Hermansson
Louise Danielsson
Published in Journal of Hospital Administration
Volume 7
Issue 5
Pages 8-16
ISSN 1927-6990
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 8-16
Language en
Keywords Call-back service, Telephone service, Access to healthcare, Healthcare barrier, Qualitative research
Subject categories Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy


Objective: Despite the wide use of telephone call-back services in Swedish healthcare, there has been little research on how it affects patients. This study explores individual experiences of a call-back service, concentrating on barriers to healthcare, and healthcare-seeking behavior. Methods: The study was conducted at Angered Hospital and Angered Primary Care Rehabilitation Center in Gothenburg, Sweden. Ten informants, 28-82 years old, who had used the call-back service participated in interviews about their experience of the call-back service. Thematic analysis was used to analyze data from the interviews. Results: Three themes were identified in the analysis: (1) features and functions of the call-back service; (2) the call-back service as a barrier to or facilitator of healthcare; and (3) adjustments to the call-back service. Most informants were content with the call-back function. Negative experiences were related to language difficulties and the length of time allowed during the phone call. Lack of available appointments and telephone access were problems reported. Informants suggested a longer time frame for calls, longer opening hours regarding telephone access, more language and voicemail options, and the possibility of speaking to a person. Conclusions: Informants in this study mostly had a positive impression of seeking healthcare using call-back services. Barriers related to language and time frame for calls could be explored in larger studies. The results from this explorative study suggests that a combination of approaches – with other options added to the call-back services - might increase equal access to health care. The use and effects of call-back services warrant further investigation.

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