Do callers to the NSW Sexual Health Infoline attend the services they are referred to?Margy Ewing A D , Phillip Read A B , Vickie Knight A , Samantha Morgan A , Mark Hanlon A , Angela McDonald A , Ruthy McIver A , Simon Wright A and Anna McNulty A C
A Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Sydney Eye Hospital, Sydney, NSW 2001, Australia.
B The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia.
C School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sexual Health 10(6) 530-532 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH13106
Submitted: 15 July 2013 Accepted: 18 August 2013 Published: 11 October 2013
Background: The NSW Sexual Health Infoline (SHIL) is a free and confidential sexual health information and referral line. The ability of Australian sexual health helplines to facilitate successful referrals has not been studied. In the present study, we sought to determine whether callers were successful in accessing the publicly funded sexual health services (PFSHS) or general practitioners (GP) they were referred to. Methods: Callers to SHIL who were directly referred to a PFSHS or GP for HIV and/or sexually transmissible infection testing from 3 January to 31 March 2012 were offered a follow-up phone call 1 week later. Results: Of 474 eligible callers, 190 (40%) agreed to disclose a first name and contact details and to be contacted by a study nurse on an agreed-upon date. One hundred and twenty (63%) callers were successfully contacted 1 week later; of these, 85% had attended or had a future appointment booked for testing. Conclusions: We conclude that among the study sample that was successfully followed up, most callers to the SHIL had attended or booked appointments to the services they were referred to.
Additional keywords: Anonymous, follow up, helpline, HIV, phone, referral, sexually transmissible infection, testing.
References Australia Communications and Media Association (ACMA). Communications report 2011–2012. Canberra: ACMA; 2012 Available online at: http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/Library/researchacma/Digital-society-research/communications-report-201112-library-landing-page [verified 3 September 2013].
 Waegemann CP. mHealth: the next generation of telemedicine? Telemed J E Health 2010; 16 23–5.
| mHealth: the next generation of telemedicine?CrossRef | 20070168PubMed |
 Watts M, Fountain JS, Reith D, Schep L. Compliance with poisons centre referral advice and implications for toxicovigilance. J Toxicol 2004; 42 603–10.
 Moore JD, Saywell RM, Thakker N, Jones T. An analysis of patient compliance with nurse recommendations from an afterhours call centre. Am J Manag Care 2002; 8 343–52.
| 11950129PubMed |
 NSW Department of Health (DoH). NSW sexually transmitted infections strategy 2006–2010. Sydney: NSW DoH; 2006.
 Vassilev ZP, Marcus SM, Jennis T, Ruck B,, Rego G. Assessment of the utilization of a state AIDS/STD hotline by persons with and without HIV infection and their information needs. AIDS Patient Care STD 2005; 19 684–9.
| Assessment of the utilization of a state AIDS/STD hotline by persons with and without HIV infection and their information needs.CrossRef |
 Neumann MS. Profile of callers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national sexually transmitted diseases hotline. Sex Trans Dis 1996; 23 131–7.
| Profile of callers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national sexually transmitted diseases hotline.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK2s%2FnslWksQ%3D%3D&md5=1a4566b6c4e43a3b0962a53d688aad23CAS |
 Boselli F, Chiossi G, Gallinelli A. The Italian STD ‘hot-line’. Making people aware. Sex Trans Dis 2003; 30 707–12.
| The Italian STD ‘hot-line’. Making people aware.CrossRef |
 Bunn F, Byrne G, Kendall S. Telephone consultation and triage: effects on health care use and patient satisfaction. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004; 4 CD004180
| 15495083PubMed |
 Bunn F, Byrne G, Kendall S. The effects of telephone consultation and triage on healthcare use and patient satisfaction: a systematic review. Br J Gen Pract 2005; 55 956–61.
| 16378566PubMed |
 Ng YJ, Fatovitch DM, Turner VF, Wurmel JA, Skevington SA, Phillips MR. Appropriateness of health direct referral to emergency dept compared with self referrals and GP referrals. Med J Aust 2012; 197 498–502.
| Appropriateness of health direct referral to emergency dept compared with self referrals and GP referrals.CrossRef |
 Stewart B, Fairhurst R, Markland J, Marzouk O. Review of calls to NHS Direct related to attendance in the paediatric emergency department. BMJ 2006; 23 911–4.
| 1:STN:280:DC%2BD28nptFOnsQ%3D%3D&md5=d26484be3b9e9ab6fa1e6debaae9493fCAS |
 Krishna S, Austen Boren S, Andrew Balas E.. Healthcare via cell phones: a systematic review. Telemed e-Health 2009; 15 231–40.
| Healthcare via cell phones: a systematic review.CrossRef |
 Clemens S, Cvetkovski S, Tyssen E. Directline telephone counselling and referral service. What role does it play in the treatment pathway and referral uptake of substance users? Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre; 2005. Available online at: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/vdapc/archive/directline.pdf [verified 14 January 2013].
 Kong FYS, Guy RJ, Hocking JS, Merritt T, Pirotta M, Bergeri H, et al Australian general practitioner chlamydia testing rates among young people. Med J Aust 2011; 194 249–52.