Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 417823, 4 pages
Research Article

A Survey of Primary Care Offices: Triage of Poisoning Calls without a Poison Control Center

1University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
2Department of Medical Toxicology, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, 925 East McDowell Road, 2nd Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85006, USA
3Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center, Phoenix, AZ 85006, USA

Received 22 March 2012; Revised 18 April 2012; Accepted 22 April 2012

Academic Editor: Jens Sondergaard

Copyright © 2012 Travis Austin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Poison control centers hold great potential for saving health care resources particularly by preventing unnecessary medical utilization. We developed a four-question survey with three poisoning-related scenarios, based on common calls to our poison center, and one question regarding after-hours calls. We identified primary care provider offices in our poison center's region from an internet search. We contacted these offices via telephone and asked to speak to an office manager or someone responsible for triaging patient phone queries. Using a scripted form, trained investigators questioned 100 consecutive primary care provider offices on how they would handle these poisoning-related calls if there was no poison center to refer their patients to. Results of our survey suggest that 82.5% of poisoning-related calls to primary care offices would be referred to 911 or an emergency department if there was no poison center. These results further support the role that poison centers play in patient care and health care utilization.