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TEACH Lesson Plan Manual for Kinn’s The Medical Assistant: An Applied Learning Approach 12th edition Chapter 9 Telephone Techniques.

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Presentation on theme: "TEACH Lesson Plan Manual for Kinn’s The Medical Assistant: An Applied Learning Approach 12th edition Chapter 9 Telephone Techniques."— Presentation transcript:

1 TEACH Lesson Plan Manual for Kinn’s The Medical Assistant: An Applied Learning Approach
12th edition Chapter 9 Telephone Techniques

2 Telephone Use in the Medical Office
Lesson 9.1 Telephone Use in the Medical Office Define, spell, and pronounce the terms listed in the vocabulary. Determine and discuss the source of incoming and outgoing calls to a physician’s office. Describe how to develop a pleasing telephone voice. Explain why courtesy is so important when speaking on the telephone. Demonstrate the correct way to hold a telephone handset.

3 Telephone Use in the Medical Office
Lesson 9.1 Telephone Use in the Medical Office Demonstrate the correct way to answer the telephone in the office. Discuss different ways to handle callers who want to speak to the physician. List the seven elements of a correctly handled telephone message. Demonstrate the correct way to record a message accurately and take a request for action. Demonstrate the most efficient way to call in a prescription or a prescription refill to a pharmacy.

4 Introduction Sources of most calls Established patients New patients
Reports of treatment results or emergencies Physician referrals Laboratory results Pharmacies and patients for prescription refills Telephone is the lifeline of a medical practice. Treat all phone calls with respect and courtesy.

5 Active Listening Practice focusing on the call at hand while juggling several tasks at once.

6 Pleasing Telephone Voice
Use proper enunciation, diction, pitch, and clarity Use pleasant inflection with friendly, warm tone Use courtesy and tact Avoid medical jargon and use correct grammar Never answer the telephone while eating, drinking, or chewing gum. Give the caller your full attention and present a professional, friendly image of the office.

7 Telephone Handset Handset mouthpiece should be 1 inch from lips and directly in front of teeth Speak directly into mouthpiece of headset, same distance as handset How do you check the proper distance from a mouthpiece to your mouth? (You should be able to fit two finger widths between your lips and the mouthpiece.) A person who speaks too quickly, enunciates poorly, or fails to speak directly into the transmitter may not be easily understood by the person on the other end of the line.

8 Maintaining Confidentiality
All communications are confidential Use discretion when mentioning names, symptoms, or other information Never use speaker phone Another individual may hear private medical information, which is a violation of regulations established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). 

9 Thinking Ahead Before a call, have all necessary information ready
Have pen and pad ready to take notes Write down list of questions or goals for conversation List of frequently called numbers saves time Keep the call short and simple to free the line for other calls.

10 Answering Promptly Answer quickly and always by third ring
With multiple lines, place first call on hold long enough to ask second caller to hold If emergency, let others on hold know they may have to wait or be called back Do not multitask while on a phone call If the call is an emergency, prompt attention to it could save a life. You must know how to activate emergency medical services (EMS) in your area. Treat the phone call just as if the patient were standing in the office. Procedure 9-1 on p. 143 outlines how to answer the phone in a professional manner using proper telephone techniques.

11 Identifying the Facility
Identify facility first Say your name Choose a greeting and practice saying it Why do some physicians avoid using the title "Dr." when calling a patient? (To protect their patient’s confidentiality, particularly when calling a shared line or place of work.) Never rush. All callers should be able to clearly understand exactly what is said.

12 Identifying the Caller
If caller does not identify self, ask who is calling Write name down immediately Try to use caller’s name at least three times during conversation Handle callers who will not identify selves according to office policy Unidentified callers could be a patient; therefore, every attempt to identify the patient and assist him or her should be made. Such callers may also be salespersons who are fully aware that if their identity is revealed, they will never get the opportunity to speak to the physician.

13 Screening Incoming Calls
Learn physician's preferences for receiving calls or returning later Explain that physician will return calls as soon as possible Provide approximate time frame for when caller can expect to hear back Ask for phone number of caller Record messages accurately and document calls Find out exactly how calls are to be handled when the physician is out of the office and under what circumstances he or she can be interrupted when on the premises.

14 Minimizing Wait Time Keep callers on hold as short a time as possible
Once per minute, check back in with patient holding for physician Offer to have call returned, rather than wait on hold Always thank caller for waiting Requests that might require pulling the patient's chart from the files are best handled with a call back to the patient. Remember that leaving a person on hold ties up one of the physician's telephone lines, and an emergency call could be coming through or new patients might be attempting to call.

15 Transferring a Call Ask permission when placing caller on hold and to transfer calls Identify caller to person receiving transferred call If unavailable, ask caller if he or she would prefer to leave a voice mail or take a message Know how to direct calls to appropriate staff member Any person who refuses to give a name should not be put through unless the medical assistant has been specifically instructed to do so. Because the physician's office often is a hectic place, most require that a message be taken so that the medical record can be reviewed, the patient's request considered, and the patient called back with questions or instructions from the doctor.

16 Taking a Telephone Message
Use message pad or computer system to record the following: Name of call recipient Name of caller All contact numbers for caller Reason for call Action to be taken Date and time of call Initials of person taking call  Never use small scraps of paper for messages; they are too easily lost. Impression-sensitive message pads, which provide a copy of each page, ensure that no message is forgotten and are the best way to keep track of handwritten messages. Electronic software systems usually populate the name, address, phone number, date, and time of a message; therefore, you only need to type in the reason for the call and what the patient would like the physician to do.

17 Taking Action on Messages
Message procedure incomplete until necessary action is taken Add notation to carry over to next day, if necessary Note patients’ attitudes if significant, to help physician when returning call Do not trust to memory messages that were not attended to from previous days; always carry them forward either electronically or in writing. Procedure 9-2 on p. 145 outlines how to take a telephone message.

18 Ending a Call End calls promptly
Thank caller, close conversation with a form of goodbye Allow caller to hang up first Do not encourage inappropriate chatting or permit the call to monopolize your time unnecessarily.

19 Retaining Records of Telephone Messages
Office should have policy on retention of message records Electronic systems should send directly to medical record Keep handwritten message pads for period of statute of limitations Make sure accurate telephone records are kept to ensure good patient care and customer service.

20 Directions Clear set of directions written out to read to caller, if requested Prepare directions from various points in the area Place map on office Web site for patients to print Do not refer to Internet mapping site Place these directions close to the telephone so that all employees can access them easily.

21 Inquiries about Bills If patient calls with billing question, obtain ledger from computer or files If routine, ask if you can help answer the question Arrange payment plan and note call in medical record Refer to billing office if necessary What practice can reduce the number of calls relating to bills? (Properly advising patients about charges at the time services are rendered)

22 Inquiries about Fees Give estimates of fees before patient sees physician Follow estimates by stating that fees vary depending on patient’s condition and tests ordered Have schedule of fees available If fees are regularly discussed on the telephone, write a suggested script in the policy manual.

23 Participating Provider
Patients call to inquire if physician is a participating provider with their insurance plan or managed care organization Keep updated list of valid plans by phone Insurance benefits vary for participating and nonparticipating providers, and a claim will be denied or reimbursement lessened if the physician is not a provider for the patient's insurance company.

24 Requests for Assistance with Insurance
Medical facility typically files insurance claims Patients may call to require about claim status Answer inquiries patiently and provide help Insurance is a difficult subject to understand, even for trained individuals familiar with the various forms and procedures.

25 Radiology and Laboratory Reports
Urgent reports may be faxed, telephoned, or ed to physician’s office Relay reports to physician If marked STAT, physician wants results immediately Original reports usually are delivered by mail for the medical record. Some facilities receive laboratory results directly from the laboratory by computer.

26 Satisfactory Progress Reports
Physician may ask patient to report on condition a few days after visit Take calls and relay information to physician if report is satisfactory Immediately inform physician if report is unsatisfactory The doctor should provide instructions for the patient to follow in case of an unsatisfactory report.

27 Routine Reports from Hospitals
Hospitals and other sources may call to report a patient’s progress Take message carefully and give to physician What should you do after giving the message to the physician? (After physician sees message report, file it in patient’s medical record.)

28 Office Administration Matters
Calls may not refer to patients Accountant, auditor, office suppliers, office maintenance, etc. Handle calls or refer to appropriate person For some of these calls, you may need to gather additional information and return the call.

29 Requests for Referrals
May be handled without consulting physician, if a list of referral practitioners is provided If insurance plan requires a written referral, physician must handle Most physicians require office visit to discuss referral Then call referral physician and notify of referral Document all referrals in medical record Handle these calls as quickly as possible so that the patient may make an appointment to see the referral physician.

30 Prescription Refills Pharmacies call to obtain approval for patient’s refill Any refills should be authorized only with physician's approval Check with physician and call back Some medications require written prescription Make sure state regulations and procedures are followed any time you deal with prescription refills or calls. Procedure 9-3 on p. 148 outlines the procedures for calling the pharmacy with new or refill prescriptions.

31 Patients Refusing to Discuss Symptoms
Some patients may insist on only discussing symptoms with physician over phone If patient refuses, suggest he or she make appointment to discuss in person with physician The physician cannot be expected to take numerous calls from patients who do not want to speak to the medical assistant.

32 Unsatisfactory Progress Reports
Do not give medical advice to patients Make detailed notes about patient’s unsatisfactory progress Present notes to physician Follow up with patient with physician’s instructions The physician may make a medication change or may decide that the patient should return to the office.

33 Requests for Test Results
Patients call for test results Physician must see results and give permission to share results with patient Only provide abnormal test results if authorized, and give further instructions Refer any questions to physician Patients do not always understand that the medical assistant does not have the privilege of giving out information without the permission of the physician. If the result is unfavorable, the physician should be the one to inform the patient and give further instructions.

34 Requests for Test Results, cont’d
Schedule appointment with physician for serious abnormal results These types of results best relayed in person Identify patient properly before giving results Patient must give written permission before any information may be given to third-party callers Staff members may breach HIPAA regulations if they do not identify the patient accurately. Third-party callers include insurance companies, attorneys, relatives, neighbors, employers, and any other third party.

35 Complaints about Care or Fees
Explain charges by reviewing bill with patient If patient is angry, offer to pull chart, research problem, and discuss with physician Reassure patient you want to help What four magic words often calm the angry patient? (“Let me help you.”) If you are unable to appease the patient easily, the physician or office manager may prefer to talk directly to the patient.

36 Personal Calls Personal calls to physician Personal calls to staff
Handle according to physician’s instructions and be tactful Personal calls to staff Only take personal calls in case of emergency Emergency calls could be coming through, and the lines must be clear.

37 Specialty Calls, Telephone Services, and Equipment
Lesson 9.2 Specialty Calls, Telephone Services, and Equipment Explain how angry callers might be handled. Discuss how the medical assistant should handle callers who have a complaint. List several questions to ask when handling an emergency call. Discuss several useful sections of the introductory pages of the phone directory.

38 Angry Callers Take required action
Acknowledge importance of call and reassure caller of your assistance Lower tone of voice and volume to encourage calm manner Avoid getting angry and try to get to root of real problem Express interest, take careful notes, and follow through Never "pass the buck" by saying, "That isn't my job," or "I am not the person who filed that insurance claim." No matter whose fault the problem is, it is best to deal with it and find a solution instead of placing blame.

39 Aggressive Callers Insist they receive whatever action they feel necessary immediately Treat them with calm, poised attitude Do not let aggression force you to take inappropriate action Explain when caller can expect a response from office Follow up that appropriate action was taken Reassure the caller that the concern being shared is valid and will receive the full attention of the right person.

40 Unauthorized Inquiry and Sales Calls
Callers requesting information to which they are not entitled should be politely denied Keep sales calls quick Know which companies and reps office works with Developing a good rapport with representatives ("reps") from the companies whose products are frequently used in the practice may result in discounted prices and first news of sales and promotions.

41 Physician Shopping Prospective patients call seeking information about medical office May want to know physician’s background before selecting the office Be polite and answer questions respectfully Even if the caller does not become a patient, he or she may share his or her impressions of the practice with another prospective patient.

42 Complaints Find source of problem and present options to caller for resolution Treat callers in same way you would wish to be treated Complaint may seem small to you, but is paramount to patient Good customer service remedies many complaints When callers complain, use an approach similar to the one used with angry callers.

43 Callers with Difficulty Communicating
If callers are not primarily English speakers, they may be difficult to understand Use listening skills to understand Ask questions to be sure you understand If a certain language is predominant in the area, the physician should consider hiring a medical assistant who is bilingual.

44 Emergency Calls Require good judgment from person answering calls
Know what constitutes a real emergency and how to handle it Never hang up on emergency until help arrives Urgent calls require prompt attention but are not life-threatening Policies and procedures manual should dictate what to do What are some examples of true emergencies? (Chest pain, profuse bleeding, severe allergic reactions, cessation of breathing, loss of consciousness, and broken bones) What are some examples of urgent calls? (Adult with fever over 102°F, an animal bite, or increasingly painful ear infection)

45 Emergency Calls, cont’d
Emergency calls may need to be transferred to physician if possible Written plan of action in case physician is not available to handle call Develop typical questions to ask caller to determine nature of emergency What types of questions may be asked to determine the validity and disposition of the emergency? (Answers will vary, but a list of examples is available on p. 151.)

46 Screening Guidelines One person may be designated to screen calls
Written telephone protocol should dictate how to handle urgent and emergency situations Emergencies should be transferred to physician The protocol should state that the employees are bound by the written guidelines and that any giving of advice by unauthorized personnel may be grounds for dismissal. Additional instructions should include what action to take if no physician is available, such as sending the patient to an emergency department or calling an ambulance.

47 Obtaining Information for Physician
Duration of symptoms Remedies tried at home Specifics about symptoms One way to learn about questions to ask is to listen to the physician carefully as he or she questions patients about their symptoms. Remember to always be "patient with your patients."

48 Typical Outgoing Calls
Most are responses to incoming calls Plan outgoing calls in advance Organizing calls increases efficiency Remember to treat those on the other end of the phone as you would wish to be treated.

49 Voice Mail Around-the-clock method to receive patient messages
Answer voice mails messages promptly Voice mail allows the caller to hear a recorded message that may also provide information about what to do in case of an emergency.

50 Answering Services Provide an operator to answer calls when office is closed May also answer when office is open, but staff cannot answer a call Check in with answering service each evening and morning An answering service can act as a buffer for the physician and help eliminate too-frequent, unnecessary calls during the late evening or night hours.

51 Automatic Routing and Call Forwarding
Automatic call routing has automated message with list of options to route calls Call forwarding allows user to forward calls to another number to prevent missing important calls while away The impersonal nature of automation does not lend itself well to answering the telephone in a small to medium-sized physician's office.

52 Caller ID and Blocking Caller ID allows user to see who is calling before picking up Caller ID blocking blocks calls from unknown numbers Some physicians often use a blocker (e.g., *67) before calling patients so that the patient will not have access to the physician's personal phone numbers. Patients may need to be educated about this procedure so that the physician can reach them easily when calling after established office hours.

53 Fax Machines Allow user to send and receive copies of printed documents over telephone lines Protect confidentiality by using cover sheets and alerting recipient fax is coming A fax machine can be a great time and labor saver in conveying patient information from physician to physician or from physician to hospital.

54 Headsets Keep hands free while talking on phone
Many are lightweight and made for mobility Some also have a quick-disconnect feature that allows the user to separate the headset even during a call without breaking the connection.

55 Long-Distance and Special Services
Efficient way to get information quickly Directory assistance can provide numbers Internet searches are a free way to obtain numbers Consider the different time zones before placing calls Often a fee is charged for using directory assistance, so look for the phone number using free sources whenever possible. If you reach a wrong long-distance number, be sure to obtain the name of the city and state that was called, and report this information promptly to the local operator so that the facility will not be charged for the call.

56 International Service
International Direct Distance Dialing (IDDD) International code 011 Country code City code Local telephone number The pound sign (#) button if the telephone is touchtone After dialing any international code, allow at least 45 seconds for the ringing to start.

57 Conference Calls Connect numerous points for a conference
Each person can hear or talk to all others participating Set up by a normal long distance operator or through conference call services Schedule a call by relaying pertinent information about time, date, and the individuals included It has exceptional value in family conferences when a quick decision by the entire family regarding a patient's condition is required.

58 Operator-Assisted Calls and Services
Person to person Billing to a third party Collect calls Requests for time and charges Certain calls placed from hotels Credit for wrong numbers Conference calls Some international calls Operator-assisted calls through most phone service providers have an initial charge and a service charge. Try other alternatives before making an operator-assisted call.

59 Number and Placement of Telephones
Know how to use multiple-line systems Place phones where accessible but private Courtesy phone for patients to use upon request Two incoming lines, along with a private outgoing line with a separate number for the physician's exclusive use, is the minimum recommended number of lines.

60 Using a Telephone Directory
Primary purpose is to provide lists of those who have telephones, their telephone numbers, and in most cases their addresses Aid in checking spelling of names and in locating certain businesses Introductory pages Alphabetic pages (white pages) Yellow pages Take a few moments to become familiar with the local directory, then use it frequently for getting information quickly.

61 Personal Phone Directory
Include all numbers frequently called Emergency numbers might be typed on a colored card or flagged with a colored tab Organize telephone numbers in a tabbed 3- × 5-inch desktop file or a rotary file.

62 Identifying Community Resources
Keep a list of community resources that might be of assistance to patients Information can be found in first few sections of telephone book Patients often call the physician's office looking for information on various community resources.

63 Patient Education Recordings that offer health information can play while patients wait on hold Messages about special events can be announced Phone directories can offer listings of health information Such features help address the needs of today's more information-oriented healthcare consumers, who are interested in healthy lifestyles and in gaining useful information immediately.

64 Legal and Ethical Issues
Take care that no one overhears sensitive information while on the phone Do not place or receive personal phone calls during work hours Telephone and message records may be brought into court as evidence Make sure all messages are complete and legible The telephone is a business line and should be reserved for patients and others conducting business with the office.

65 Questions?

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