2 Objectives 11-1 Explain how to manage incoming telephone calls Explain the importance of communication skills Compare the types of calls the medical assistant handles with those the physician or other staff members handle Describe how to handle various types of incoming calls from patients and from others Discuss the importance of proper telephone etiquette. Telephone Techniques
3 Objectives 11-6 Describe the procedures for taking telephone messages Explain how to retrieve calls from an answering service Describe the procedures for placing outgoing calls Explain the function of telephone triage in the medical office Explain the uses of a facsimile machine in the medical office. Telephone Techniques (cont.)
4 Using The Telephone Effectively Good telephone techniques leave the patient with a positive impression of: You The Physician The Practice Good Telephone Management Shows That: Poor Telephone Management Results In: Staff is caring Staff is attentive Staff is helpful Bad feelings Misunderstanding Unfavorable impressions
5 Using The Telephone Effectively The 5 Cs of Communication
6 Managing Incoming Calls Calls should be answered promptly Greet the caller with the medical office name and your name Be courteous, calm, and pleasant Identify the nature of the call If the caller does not give his/her name, ask for it Use the callers 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 immediately Calls that should be returned later Calls that should be handled by another staff member other than the physician Generally, 3 types of calls received in the office pertain to: 1) Administrative Issues 2) Emergency Calls 3) Clinical Issues
8 Managing Incoming Calls (cont.) Routing Calls Calls Handled By the Medical Assistant: Appointments Billing Inquiries Insurance Questions Diagnostic Reports (lab & X ray) Other Reports from patients and hospitals, etc. Referral Requests Prescription Renewals (physician must approve) Patient Complaints
9 Calls Requiring the Doctors Attention: Emergency calls Calls from other physicians Patient requests regarding test results Patient requests to discuss their symptoms Requests for prescription renewals Personal calls Managing Incoming Calls Routing Calls (cont.) A routing list specifies who is responsible for handling certain types of calls.
10 Apply Your Knowledge 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?
11 Answer 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 Calls From PatientsMedical Assistant Role Make or change appointments as needed Billing Inquiries Clarify bill or charges Assist to set-up payment arrangements if possible Diagnostic Reports If information is given be sure to document it in the record Questions About Medications Get approval for renewals Answer questions about medications Appointments Types of Incoming Calls
13 Types of Incoming Calls (cont.) Calls From PatientsMedical Assistant Role Reports of Symptoms Listen carefully & document Schedule appointment as needed Progress Reports Route follow-up calls to the physician Document call in patient record Request for Advice Do not give any medical advice Complaints Apologize for any inconveniences Remain calm & listen then follow through to resolve issue
14 Must be immediately routed to the physician Includes serious or life threatening conditions such as: Severe bleeding Drug Reaction Injuries Poisoning Suicide Attempts Severe Burns Loss of Consciousness Types of Incoming Calls (cont.)
15 Attorneys Follow office guidelines carefully Never release any patient information unless the physician authorizes you to do so Other Physicians Route calls to the physician Do not disclose any patient information Salespeople Request that information be mailed to you about new products Pharmaceutical representatives may be seen by the physician Types of Incoming Calls (cont.)
16 Apply Your Knowledge A medical assistant working in a large surgical medical practice answers the telephone and the caller states Hi, Im Dr. X., did Dr. C. perform Mrs. A. W.s surgery yesterday? How should the medical assistant respond?
17 Answer Apply Your Knowledge - Answer A medical assistant working in a large surgical medical practice answers the telephone and the caller states Hi, Im 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 Voice Speak 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.) Pronunciation versus Enunciation Pronunciation Saying words correctly If the name is difficult to pronounce, ask the patient how it is pronounced Enunciation Saying words in a clear and understandable manner Eating, chewing gum, and incorrect placement of the phone decreases enunciation
20 Making a Good Impression Courtesy Project an attitude of helpfulness Always refer to the caller by name Thank the caller before hanging up Giving Undivided Attention Give the caller the same level of attention as if he or she were right in front of you Listen attentively to get accurate information Putting a Call on Hold Always allow the caller to state the purpose of the call prior to placing the caller on hold If you think the wait will be lengthy, offer to call back instead of placing them on hold
21 Handling Difficult Situations If the call is not an emergency, and you are in the middle of an urgent situation, offer to return the call. Remembering Patient Names Callers feel important when their names are remembered. Checking for Understanding Ask questions to ensure that the caller understands what you have discussed and that you understood them. Making a Good Impression (cont.)
22 Communicating Feelings Try to communicate an understanding of the callers feelings (empathy.) Callers tend to have a better perception of the office if empathy is communicated. Ending the Conversation Summarize important points. Thank the caller for calling. Allow the caller to hang up first. Making a Good Impression (cont.)
23 Always keep a pen and paper near the telephone, so you are prepared to record the message. Contents of Telephone Message Pads TO:____________________________________ Date__________ Time_____________ Message FROM:_________________________________ Telephone ( )________________extension____ Message Details: Your Name or initials Taking Messages
24 Taking Messages (cont.) The Telephone Log A 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 Information Get the correct spelling of the callers name and get date of birth for patients having the same name. Maintaining Patient Confidentiality You 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 Pads TO : Dr. X Date Time 0930 Message FROM: Dr. Telephone (111) extension 010 Message Details: Please call before 2pm today.
26 Answer Apply Your Knowledge - Answer Find the missing data on this message form. Name or initials of person taking the message Contents of Telephone Message Pads TO : Dr. X Date Time 0930 Message FROM: Dr. Telephone (111) extension 010 Message Details: Please call before 2pm today. (Which doctor???)
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 Locating Telephone Numbers Verify accuracy of the number prior to calling Refer to office directories to locate numbers Use directory assistance by dialing (1-800-area code ) as a last option since a fee is charged for this service Applying Your Telephone Skills Plan Allow at least one minute or 8 rings Identify yourself & ask if time is good for person Arranging Conference Calls Medical Assistants may need to schedule calls between several people Remember the different time zones Suggest several time slots as options Placing Outgoing Calls
29 Telephone Triage Telephone triage is used as a process of deciding what action to take. Learning The Triage Process Telephone staff are given guidelines to handle common conditions Telephone staff must determine if caller requires additional care Telephone staff cannot diagnose or treat a patients problem Specific information is obtained such as name, age, symptoms, anxiety, etc.
30 Categorizing The Problem Level of Severity Manage by telephone Manage in office Send patient to emergency care facility Advise patients that the recommendations are based on the symptoms they described and are not a diagnosis. Telephone Triage (cont.)
31 Telephone Triage (cont.) Taking Action Telephone 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 Knowledge 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?
33 Answer 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.