Set a policy of two attempts to contact a person, then send email (via eConsult), AccuRx message (set up a template for this) or leave answerphone message.

This should be coded, in history, NOT as a problem title in the consultation as ‘failed encounter’ as this allows a practice to capture failed encounters, a useful indicator of how effective the triage process is.

Clearly there will be times when clinicians use their discretion and try more times to contact someone, but if this policy is clearly articulated to the team and also to people accessing the service it really helps.

The golden rule here is: the longer it takes to call a patient back, the more likely you are to get a failed encounter. So, turnaround time is very important, as well as not booking in patients for call-backs on another later day.