2 Telephone Techniques Objectives 11-1 Explain how to manage incoming telephone calls.11-2 Explain the importance of communication skills.11-3 Compare the types of calls the medical assistant handles with those the physician or other staff members handle.11-4 Describe how to handle various types of incoming calls from patients and from others.11-5 Discuss the importance of proper telephone etiquette.
3 Telephone Techniques (cont.) Objectives11-6 Describe the procedures for taking telephone messages.11-7 Explain how to retrieve calls from an answering service.11-8 Describe the procedures for placing outgoing calls.11-9 Explain the function of telephone triage in the medical office.11-10 Explain the uses of a facsimile machine in the medical office.
4 Using The Telephone Effectively Good telephone techniques leave the patient with a positive impression of:YouThe PhysicianThe PracticeGood TelephoneManagement Shows That:Poor TelephoneManagement Results In:Staff is caringStaff is attentiveStaff is helpfulBad feelingsMisunderstandingUnfavorable impressions
5 Using The Telephone Effectively CompleteConciseClearThe 5 C’sofCommunicationCohesiveCourteous
6 Managing Incoming Calls Calls should be answered promptlyGreet the caller with the medical office name and your nameBe courteous, calm, and pleasantIdentify the nature of the callIf the caller does not give his/her name, ask for itUse the caller’s name when communicating and saying goodbye at the end of the call
7 Managing Incoming Calls (cont.) Screening Calls Follow the office policy to determine:Calls that should be put through immediatelyCalls that should be returned laterCalls that should be handled by another staff member other than the physicianGenerally, 3 types of calls received in the office pertain to:1) Administrative Issues3) Clinical Issues2) Emergency Calls
8 Managing Incoming Calls (cont.) Routing Calls Calls Handled By the Medical Assistant:AppointmentsBilling InquiriesInsurance QuestionsDiagnostic Reports (lab & X ray)Other Reports from patients and hospitals, etc.Referral RequestsPrescription Renewals (physician must approve)Patient Complaints
9 Managing Incoming Calls Routing Calls (cont.) Calls Requiring the Doctor’s Attention:Emergency callsCalls from other physiciansPatient requests regarding test resultsPatient requests to discuss their symptomsRequests for prescription renewalsPersonal callsA routing list specifies who is responsible for handling certain types of calls.
10 Apply Your KnowledgeThe medical assistant is just returning from lunch, and the office telephone is ringing. When the medical assistant answers, the caller interrupts her greeting and states “No, do not put me on hold again, I have been on hold for 10 minutes!” How should the medical assistant respond to this caller?
11 Apply Your Knowledge - Answer The medical assistant is just returning from lunch, and the office telephone is ringing. When the medical assistant answers, the caller interrupts her greeting and states “No, do not put me on hold again, I have been on hold for 10 minutes!” How should the medical assistant respond to this caller?Remain calm and allow the caller to express his/her concerns. Apologize for any inconvenience and inform the caller that you would like to help. It is not a good idea to attempt to shift the blame by telling the caller that you were just returning from lunch, instead put effort into solving the concern.
12 Types of Incoming Calls Calls From PatientsMedical Assistant RoleMake or change appointments as neededBilling InquiriesClarify bill or chargesAssist to set-up payment arrangements if possibleDiagnostic ReportsIf information is given be sure to document it in the recordQuestions About MedicationsGet approval for renewalsAnswer questions about medicationsAppointments
13 Types of Incoming Calls (cont.) Calls From PatientsMedical Assistant RoleReports of SymptomsListen carefully & documentSchedule appointment as neededProgress ReportsRoute follow-up calls to the physicianDocument call in patient recordRequest for AdviceDo not give any medical adviceComplaintsApologize for any inconveniencesRemain calm & listen then follow through to resolve issue
14 Types of Incoming Calls (cont.) Emergency CallsMust be immediately routed to the physicianIncludes serious or life threatening conditions such as:Severe bleedingDrug ReactionInjuriesPoisoningSuicide AttemptsSevere BurnsLoss of Consciousness
15 Types of Incoming Calls (cont.) AttorneysFollow office guidelines carefullyNever release any patient information unless the physician authorizes you to do soOther PhysiciansRoute calls to the physicianDo not disclose any patient informationSalespeopleRequest that information be mailed to you about new productsPharmaceutical representatives may be seen by the physician
16 Apply Your KnowledgeA medical assistant working in a large surgical medical practice answers the telephone and the caller states “Hi, I’m Dr. X., did Dr. C. perform Mrs. A. W.’s surgery yesterday?” How should the medical assistant respond?
17 Apply Your Knowledge - Answer A medical assistant working in a large surgical medical practice answers the telephone and the caller states “Hi, I’m Dr. X., did Dr. C. perform Mrs. A. W.’s surgery yesterday?” How should the medical assistant respond?It would be best for the medical assistant to request that this physician hold to speak with the physician. This could be someone else, and you are not at liberty to disclose any information. You should not even acknowledge whether Patient “A. W.” did or did not have surgery.
18 Using Proper Telephone Etiquette Your Telephone VoiceSpeak directly into the receiver.Be friendly & convey interest to the caller.Use non-technical language but never use slang.Use a normal tone but attempt to vary your pitch.Pitch is the high and low level of your speech.
19 Using Proper Telephone Etiquette (cont.) PronunciationversusEnunciationEnunciationPronunciationSaying words in a clear and understandable mannerEating, chewing gum, and incorrect placement of the phone decreases enunciationSaying words correctlyIf the name is difficult to pronounce, ask the patient how it is pronounced
20 Making a Good Impression Project an attitude of helpfulnessAlways refer to the caller by nameThank the caller before hanging upCourtesyGiving UndividedAttentionGive the caller the same level of attention as if he or she were right in front of youListen attentively to get accurate informationPutting a Call on HoldAlways allow the caller to state the purpose of the call prior to placing the caller on holdIf you think the wait will be lengthy, offer to call back instead of placing them on hold
21 Making a Good Impression (cont.) Handling Difficult SituationsIf the call is not an emergency, and you are in the middle of an urgent situation, offer to return the call.Remembering Patient NamesCallers feel important when their names are remembered.Checking for UnderstandingAsk questions to ensure that the caller understands what you have discussed and that you understood them.
22 Making a Good Impression (cont.) Communicating FeelingsTry to communicate an understanding of the caller’s feelings (empathy.)Callers tend to have a better perception of the office if empathy is communicated.Ending the ConversationSummarize important points.Thank the caller for calling.Allow the caller to hang up first.
23 Taking Messages Contents of Telephone Message Pads Always keep a pen and paper near the telephone, so you are prepared to record the message.Contents of Telephone Message PadsTO:____________________________________Date__________ Time_____________MessageFROM:_________________________________Telephone ( )________________extension____Message Details:Your Name or initials
24 Taking Messages (cont.) The Telephone LogA spiral-bound perforated message book is often used to record messages.The top copy or original is given to the message recipient, and a copy is kept in the book for future reference.Ensuring Correct InformationGet the correct spelling of the caller’s name and get date of birth for patients having the same name.Maintaining Patient ConfidentialityYou must maintain confidentiality with written telephone messages and do not repeat any confidential information over the telephone.
25 Apply Your Knowledge Find the missing data on this message form. Contents of Telephone Message PadsTO: Dr. “X”Date Time 0930MessageFROM: Dr.Telephone (111) extensionMessage Details:Please call before 2pm today.
26 Apply Your Knowledge - Answer Find the missing data on this message form.Contents of Telephone Message PadsTO: Dr. “X”Date Time 0930MessageFROM: Dr.Telephone (111) extensionMessage Details:Please call before 2pm today.(Which doctor???)Name or initials of persontaking the message
27 Telephone Answering Systems Office telephone systems can vary from a single telephone line to a multi-line system.One of the medical assistant responsibilities may be to retrieve information from the answering service.Common equipment and services used in the medical office includes:Automated voice mail.Answering machine.Answering service.
28 Placing Outgoing Calls Locating Telephone NumbersVerify accuracy of the number prior to callingRefer to office directories to locate numbersUse directory assistance by dialing (1-800-area code ) as a last option since a fee is charged for this serviceApplying Your Telephone SkillsArranging Conference CallsPlanAllow at least one minute or 8 ringsIdentify yourself & ask if time is good for personMedical Assistants may need to schedule calls between several peopleRemember the different time zonesSuggest several time slots as options
29 Learning The Triage Process Telephone TriageTelephone triage is used as a process of deciding what action to take.Learning The Triage ProcessTelephone staff are given guidelines to handle common conditionsTelephone staff must determine if caller requires additional careTelephone staff cannot diagnose or treat a patient’s problemSpecific information is obtained such as name, age, symptoms, anxiety, etc.
30 Telephone Triage (cont.) Level of SeverityCategorizing The ProblemManage by telephoneManage in officeSend patient to emergency care facilityAdvise patients that the recommendations are based on the symptoms they described and are not a diagnosis.
31 Telephone Triage (cont.) Taking ActionTelephone triage staff use the guidelines to determine the course of action needed based on patient symptoms.Telephone situations must be handled correctly to protect the health and safety of the patient.
32 Apply Your KnowledgeThe medical assistant has been informed that the office physician and the consulting physician must speak with the daughter of an unresponsive patient recently diagnosed with a terminal condition. The daughter resides out-of-town. What would you do in this situation?
33 Apply Your Knowledge - Answer The medical assistant has been informed that the office physician and the consulting physician must speak with the daughter of an unresponsive patient recently diagnosed with a terminal condition. The daughter resides out-of-town. What would you do in this situation?This situation requires that three parties be able to communicate at the same time to each other. Setting up a conference call would be most plausible.