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Telephone Techniques Chapter 11 Medical Assisting

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1 Telephone Techniques Chapter 11 Medical Assisting
PowerPoint® presentation to accompany: Medical Assisting Third Edition Booth, Whicker, Wyman, Pugh, Thompson

2 Learning Outcomes 11.1 Explain the importance of communication skills.
11.2 Explain how to manage incoming telephone calls. 11.3 Describe how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies to telephone communications. 11.4 Describe the procedure for calling a new prescription or prescription renewal into a pharmacy.

3 Learning Outcomes (cont.)
11.5 Compare the types of calls the medical assistant handles with those the physician or other staff members handle. 11.6 Describe how to handle various types of incoming calls from patients and from others. 11.7 Discuss the importance of proper telephone etiquette. 11.8 Describe the procedures for taking telephone messages.

4 Learning Outcomes (cont.)
Explain how to retrieve calls from an answering service. 11.10 Describe the procedures for placing outgoing calls. 11.11 Explain the function of telephone triage in the medical office. 11.12 Explain the uses of a facsimile machine in a medical office.

5 Introduction Telephone calls must be professionally and effectively handled Telephone etiquette Common courtesy Proper pronunciation, tone, and enunciation How to handle difficult situations and complaints How to document messages

6 Using the Telephone Effectively
The medical assistant may be the first contact a patient has Ensure that you leave a positive impression Show concern Sound professional and knowledgeable Proper telephone management Keeps patients informed Ensures patient satisfaction

7 Using the Telephone Effectively (cont.)
Good telephone techniques leave the patient with a positive impression of You The physician The practice Good telephone management shows that the staff is Poor telephone management results in Caring Attentive Helpful Bad feelings Misunderstanding Unfavorable impressions

8 Apply Your Knowledge Good Job!
What two things does proper telephone management do? ANSWER: Proper telephone management keeps patients informed and ensures patient satisfaction. Good Job!

9 Communication Skills Using tact and sensitivity Showing empathy
Giving respect Being genuine

10 Communication Skills (cont.)
Displaying openness and friendliness Refraining from passing judgment or stereotyping Being supportive Asking for clarification and feedback

11 Communication Skills (cont.)
Paraphrasing to ensure understanding Being receptive to the patient’s needs Knowing when to speak and when to listen Being willing to consider other viewpoints

12 Communication Skills (cont.)
Complete Concise Clear The 5 Cs of Communication Cohesive Courteous

13 Certainly! Apply Your Knowledge
What are the 5 Cs of communication and what does each mean? ANSWER: The 5 Cs of communication are: Completeness – the message must contain all needed information Clarity – it should be legible and free from ambiguity Conciseness – it should be brief and direct Courtesy – it should be respectful and considerate Cohesiveness – it should be organized and logical Certainly!

14 Managing Incoming Calls: Guidelines
Answer calls promptly Be able to take a message Greet the caller with the medical office name and your name Identify the caller and demonstrate a willingness to assist him or her If the caller does not give his or her name, ask for it

15 Managing Incoming Calls: Guidelines (cont.)
Be courteous, calm, and pleasant Identify the nature of the call Use the caller’s name when saying goodbye at the end of the call Comply with HIPAA guidelines for confidentiality of patient information

16 Managing Incoming Calls: Screening Calls
Tips Find out who is calling Ask what the call is in reference to Helps to determine who can handle the call Decide whether to put the call through Do not put through callers who refuse to identify themselves Determine what to do if the call is personal

17 Managing Incoming Calls: Routing Calls
Follow the office policy to determine calls that should be Put through immediately Returned returned later Handled by another staff member other than the physician Generally, three types of calls are received in the office: 1) Administrative Issues 2) Emergency Calls 3) Clinical Issues

18 Managing Incoming Calls: Routing Calls (cont.)
Calls handled by the medical assistant Appointments Billing inquiries Insurance questions Diagnostic reports (lab and x-ray) General administrative questions Reports from hospitals and patients Referral requests Prescription renewals (if previously approved by the physician) Patient complaints regarding administrative issues

19 Managing Incoming Calls: Routing Calls (cont.)
Calls requiring the doctor’s attention Emergency calls Calls from other physicians Patient requests regarding test results Patient requests to discuss their symptoms Requests for prescription renewals Personal calls A routing list specifies who is responsible for handling certain types of calls.

20 Apply Your Knowledge Very Good!
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 says, “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? ANSWER: The medical assistant should remain calm, allow the caller to express his or her concerns, apologize for any inconvenience, and inform the caller that you would like to help. The MA should not attempt to shift the blame by telling the caller that he or she was just returning from lunch and instead should put effort into assisting the caller. Very Good!

21 Types of Incoming Calls
Calls from Patients Medical Assistant Role Appointments Make or change appointments Billing Inquiries Clarify bill or charges Help set up payment arrangements if possible Diagnostic Reports Document what information is given to the patient Questions about Medications Get approval for renewals Answer questions about medications

22 Types of Incoming Calls (cont.)
Calls from Patients Medical Assistant Role Reports of Symptoms Listen carefully and document Schedule appointment as needed Progress Reports Route follow-up calls to the physician Document call in patient record Requests for Advice Do not give any medical advice Complaints Remain calm and listen carefully Apologize for any inconveniences Follow through to resolve issue

23 Types of Incoming Calls:
Emergency Calls Must be routed to the physician immediately Includes serious or life-threatening conditions such as Severe bleeding Drug reaction Injuries Poisoning Suicide attempts Severe burns Loss of consciousness 911

24 Types of Incoming Calls (cont.)
Never use office phone for personal calls Limit cell phone use to essential calls only HIPAA and confidentiality apply to telephone calls Attorneys Follow office guidelines carefully Never release any patient information unless the physician authorizes you to do so

25 Types of Incoming Calls (cont.)
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

26 Excellent! Apply Your Knowledge
A medical assistant working in a large medical/surgical practice answers the telephone. The caller states “Hi, I’m Dr. X., did Dr. C. perform Mrs. A. W.’s surgery yesterday?” How should the medical assistant respond? ANSWER: The medical assistant should request that Dr. X hold to speak with the physician. You may not disclose any information concerning a patient, including whether or not patient A.W had surgery, even to a physician. In addition, this may not really be Dr. X. Excellent!

27 Using Proper Telephone Etiquette
Customer service is critical Use your telephone voice Speak directly into the receiver Be friendly; convey interest and respect 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 Make the caller feel important!

28 Using Proper Telephone Etiquette (cont.)
Saying words correctly If the name is difficult to pronounce, ask the patient how it is pronounced Pronunciation Tone Positive Respectful Saying words in a clear and understandable manner Eating, chewing gum, and incorrect placement of the phone interfere with enunciation Enunciation

29 Telephone Etiquette: Making a Good Impression
Project an attitude of helpfulness Always refer to the caller by name Thank the caller before hanging up Exhibiting courtesy 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 Giving undivided attention Putting a call on hold Always allow the caller to state the purpose of the call prior to placing the caller on hold If the wait will be lengthy, offer to call back instead of placing the caller on hold Return to the caller at 2-minute intervals

30 Telephone Etiquette: Making a Good Impression
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 Using the caller’s name during a conversation makes the caller feel important Checking for understanding Ask questions to ensure that the caller understands what you have discussed and that you understood the caller.

31 Telephone Etiquette: Making a Good Impression
Communicating feelings Try 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 conversation Summarize important points Thank the caller for calling (use the caller’s name) Allow the caller to hang up first

32 Apply Your Knowledge Super Answer!
What should you do when you have to place a caller on hold? ANSWER: When a caller has to be placed on hold, first ask the purpose of the call. Then tell the caller why you need to place him or her on hold and how long the wait will be. Check with the caller at frequent (2-minute) intervals. Offer to call back if the wait will be lengthy. Super Answer!

33 Taking Messages Documenting calls
Protects the physician against legal action Document in the patient record Clinical issues Referrals Messages must be accurate and legible

34 Taking Messages (cont.)
Always keep a pen and paper near the telephone so you are prepared to record the message. TO:____________________________________________ Date_________________ Time______________ Message FROM:_________________________________________ Telephone ( )__________________extension________ Message Details: Your name or initials Contents of a Telephone Message Pad

35 Taking Messages: Telephone Logs
Manual Spiral-bound, perforated message book Top copy or original is given to the message recipient and a copy is kept in the book Electronic Message is keyed in as it is received Copy can be saved, printed out, or ed

36 Taking Messages: Tips Keep pen/pencil on hand
Take notes as information is given Verify spelling Verify callback number Do not make a commitment on behalf of someone else

37 Taking Messages (cont.)
Ensuring correct information Get the correct spelling of the caller’s name If you have to pull the patient record, ask for date of birth Repeat key points for verification Maintaining patient confidentiality Do not repeat any confidential information over the telephone Maintain confidentiality with written messages Message

38 Apply Your Knowledge Right! ANSWER:
F ANSWER: Date of birth Answer True or False to the following: ___ Documenting calls can protect against legal actions. ___ Confidentiality is just as important when making telephone calls as in written communication. ___ You should ask for the patient’s SSN if you have to pull his/her record. ___ You should repeat key points to verify information.

39 Telephone Answering Systems
Single telephone or complex multiline systems Common equipment and services used in the medical office Automated voice mail Answering machine Answering service

40 Telephone Answering Systems (cont.)
Retrieving messages from answering service Set a regular schedule and call at scheduled times Identify yourself and the practice name Write down all pertinent information on telephone log Repeat the information to verify Route messages per office policy

41 CORRECT! Apply Your Knowledge
What steps should you take to retrieve messages from an answering service? ANSWER: To retrieve messages from an answering service you should Set a regular schedule and call at scheduled times Identify yourself and the practice name Write down all pertinent information on telephone log Repeat the information to verify Route messages per office policy CORRECT!

42 Placing Outgoing Calls
Locating telephone numbers Patient record Office file of commonly used numbers Telephone directory, directory assistance, or the Internet A fee is charged for directory assistance

43 Placing Outgoing Calls (cont.)
Applying your telephone skills Plan before you call Double-check the phone number Allow time for the person to answer Identify yourself Ask if the time is convenient Be ready to speak when the person answers Be sure the person has paper and pencil if you are giving information

44 Placing Outgoing Calls (cont.)
Arranging conference calls Calls between several people at different locations Remember the different time zones Suggest several time slots as options

45 r Apply Your Knowledge PERFECT!
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? ANSWER: 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. PERFECT! r

46 Learning the Triage Process
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 whether caller requires additional care Telephone staff cannot diagnose or treat Specific information must be obtained, such as name, age, symptoms, and anxiety

47 Telephone Triage (cont.)
Level of Severity Categorizing the Problem Manage by telephone Manage in office Send patient to emergency care facility Advise the caller that the recommendations are based on the symptoms and are not a diagnosis Have the caller repeat instructions you give Instruct the patient to call back if symptoms worsen Document critical elements of the conversation

48 Telephone Triage (cont.)
Taking Action Clinical triage – based on office guidelines Determine extent of problem (Is this an emergency?) Decide on appropriate action Telephone situations must be handled correctly to protect the health and safety of the patient.

49 Apply Your Knowledge Great!
What is telephone triage and what does it entail? ANSWER: Telephone triage is a process used to decide what action to take when a patient calls the office with a clinical problem. Telephone staff use office guidelines to determine a course of action based on the of the level of severity of the problem. Great!

50 Telecommunications and Faxes
Automated telephone system Recorded voice identifies department or services Numbered choices Facsimile (fax) machines HIPAA guidelines must be followed for patient confidentiality Fax machine should be located in secure location

51 Impressive! Apply Your Knowledge
As you escort Mr. James to the exam room, you notice that a repairman is looking at a document on the fax machine. What should you do? ANSWER: You should ask Mr. James to wait where he is and excuse yourself to deal with the repairman. Tactfully tell the repairman that he should not be reading the information on the fax machine. You should also suggest to the office manager that the fax machine be moved to a less accessible location. Impressive!

52 In Summary Communication Reflect Tool Professionalism Documentation
Telephone Etiquette Confidentiality Telephone Triage

53 When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
End of Chapter 11 When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. ~ Ernest Hemmingway

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