Quality review of national primary care telephone triage and advice lines

Project Details

Professor Rosemary McKenzie has led three quality reviews in a series of biennial evaluations of clinical appropriateness and quality for Healthdirect Australia focussed on the after hours GP helpline and the nurse telephone triage and advice line, healthdirect.


Each of these reviews has aimed to improve the quality and safety of national telephone

primary care advice and triage services.

Key expertise provided

  • Development of a method and tools for clinical and communication review of telephone triage services, including adaptation of the use of simulated patients to the telephone environment
  • Implementation and impact evaluation using mixed methods
  • Translation of evidence to clinical governance and quality improvements, including participating in the development of an Australia Standard for Health Contact Centres.


  • Development of validated clinical scenarios for assessment purposes
  • Development of a standardised simulated patient role adapted to the teletriage environment
  • Statistical sampling and analysis.


The reviews have identified areas of high performance in clinical appropriateness of triage outcomes and communication as well as areas for service improvement and professional development.

Research Publications

McKenzie, R., Freed, G. L., Spittal, M. J., & Williamson, M. Safety on the Line - a short report on the development of a quality improvement model for a nurse and GP helpline using simulated patients. Quality in Primary Care, 2015; 23(3), 163-166.

McKenzie, R., Dunt, D., & Robinson, M. Calling for the doctor: using simulated patients to assess the quality of nurse and GP advice on an out-of-hours telephone helpline. Journal of Medical Safety, 2015; June (1), 43-50.

Research Group

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Policy

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