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 editionChapter 9Telephone Techniques
2 Telephone Use in the Medical Office Lesson 9.1Telephone Use in the Medical OfficeDefine, 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 9.1Telephone Use in the Medical OfficeDemonstrate 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 emergenciesPhysician referralsLaboratory resultsPharmacies and patients for prescription refillsTelephone is the lifeline of a medical practice.Treat all phone calls with respect and courtesy.
5 Active ListeningPractice focusing on the call at hand while juggling several tasks at once.
6 Pleasing Telephone Voice Use proper enunciation, diction, pitch, and clarityUse pleasant inflection with friendly, warm toneUse courtesy and tactAvoid medical jargon and use correct grammarNever 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 HandsetHandset mouthpiece should be 1 inch from lips and directly in front of teethSpeak directly into mouthpiece of headset, same distance as handsetHow 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 confidentialUse discretion when mentioning names, symptoms, or other informationNever use speaker phoneAnother 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 notesWrite down list of questions or goals for conversationList of frequently called numbers saves timeKeep 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 holdIf emergency, let others on hold know they may have to wait or be called backDo not multitask while on a phone callIf 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 firstSay your nameChoose a greeting and practice saying itWhy 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 callingWrite name down immediatelyTry to use caller’s name at least three times during conversationHandle callers who will not identify selves according to office policyUnidentified 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 laterExplain that physician will return calls as soon as possibleProvide approximate time frame for when caller can expect to hear backAsk for phone number of callerRecord messages accurately and document callsFind 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 physicianOffer to have call returned, rather than wait on holdAlways thank caller for waitingRequests 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 CallAsk permission when placing caller on hold and to transfer callsIdentify caller to person receiving transferred callIf unavailable, ask caller if he or she would prefer to leave a voice mail or take a messageKnow how to direct calls to appropriate staff memberAny 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 recipientName of callerAll contact numbers for callerReason for callAction to be takenDate and time of callInitials 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 takenAdd notation to carry over to next day, if necessaryNote patients’ attitudes if significant, to help physician when returning callDo 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 goodbyeAllow caller to hang up firstDo 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 recordsElectronic systems should send directly to medical recordKeep handwritten message pads for period of statute of limitationsMake sure accurate telephone records are kept to ensure good patient care and customer service.
20 DirectionsClear set of directions written out to read to caller, if requestedPrepare directions from various points in the areaPlace map on office Web site for patients to printDo not refer to Internet mapping sitePlace these directions close to the telephone so that all employees can access them easily.
21 Inquiries about BillsIf patient calls with billing question, obtain ledger from computer or filesIf routine, ask if you can help answer the questionArrange payment plan and note call in medical recordRefer to billing office if necessaryWhat practice can reduce the number of calls relating to bills? (Properly advising patients about charges at the time services are rendered)
22 Inquiries about FeesGive estimates of fees before patient sees physicianFollow estimates by stating that fees vary depending on patient’s condition and tests orderedHave schedule of fees availableIf 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 organizationKeep updated list of valid plans by phoneInsurance 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 claimsPatients may call to require about claim statusAnswer inquiries patiently and provide helpInsurance 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 officeRelay reports to physicianIf marked STAT, physician wants results immediatelyOriginal 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 visitTake calls and relay information to physician if report is satisfactoryImmediately inform physician if report is unsatisfactoryThe 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 progressTake message carefully and give to physicianWhat 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 patientsAccountant, auditor, office suppliers, office maintenance, etc.Handle calls or refer to appropriate personFor 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 providedIf insurance plan requires a written referral, physician must handleMost physicians require office visit to discuss referralThen call referral physician and notify of referralDocument all referrals in medical recordHandle these calls as quickly as possible so that the patient may make an appointment to see the referral physician.
30 Prescription RefillsPharmacies call to obtain approval for patient’s refillAny refills should be authorized only with physician's approvalCheck with physician and call backSome medications require written prescriptionMake 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 phoneIf patient refuses, suggest he or she make appointment to discuss in person with physicianThe 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 patientsMake detailed notes about patient’s unsatisfactory progressPresent notes to physicianFollow up with patient with physician’s instructionsThe 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 resultsPhysician must see results and give permission to share results with patientOnly provide abnormal test results if authorized, and give further instructionsRefer any questions to physicianPatients 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 resultsThese types of results best relayed in personIdentify patient properly before giving resultsPatient must give written permission before any information may be given to third-party callersStaff 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 patientIf patient is angry, offer to pull chart, research problem, and discuss with physicianReassure patient you want to helpWhat 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 tactfulPersonal calls to staffOnly take personal calls in case of emergencyEmergency calls could be coming through, and the lines must be clear.
37 Specialty Calls, Telephone Services, and Equipment Lesson 9.2Specialty Calls, Telephone Services, and EquipmentExplain 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 assistanceLower tone of voice and volume to encourage calm mannerAvoid getting angry and try to get to root of real problemExpress interest, take careful notes, and follow throughNever "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 CallersInsist they receive whatever action they feel necessary immediatelyTreat them with calm, poised attitudeDo not let aggression force you to take inappropriate actionExplain when caller can expect a response from officeFollow up that appropriate action was takenReassure 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 deniedKeep sales calls quickKnow which companies and reps office works withDeveloping 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 ShoppingProspective patients call seeking information about medical officeMay want to know physician’s background before selecting the officeBe polite and answer questions respectfullyEven 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 ComplaintsFind source of problem and present options to caller for resolutionTreat callers in same way you would wish to be treatedComplaint may seem small to you, but is paramount to patientGood customer service remedies many complaintsWhen 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 understandUse listening skills to understandAsk questions to be sure you understandIf 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 itNever hang up on emergency until help arrivesUrgent calls require prompt attention but are not life-threateningPolicies and procedures manual should dictate what to doWhat 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 possibleWritten plan of action in case physician is not available to handle callDevelop typical questions to ask caller to determine nature of emergencyWhat 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 situationsEmergencies should be transferred to physicianThe 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 symptomsRemedies tried at homeSpecifics about symptomsOne 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 callsPlan outgoing calls in advanceOrganizing calls increases efficiencyRemember 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 promptlyVoice 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 ServicesProvide an operator to answer calls when office is closedMay also answer when office is open, but staff cannot answer a callCheck in with answering service each evening and morningAn 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 callsCall forwarding allows user to forward calls to another number to prevent missing important calls while awayThe 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 BlockingCaller ID allows user to see who is calling before picking upCaller ID blocking blocks calls from unknown numbersSome 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 MachinesAllow user to send and receive copies of printed documents over telephone linesProtect confidentiality by using cover sheets and alerting recipient fax is comingA 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 mobilitySome 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 quicklyDirectory assistance can provide numbersInternet searches are a free way to obtain numbersConsider the different time zones before placing callsOften 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 011Country codeCity codeLocal telephone numberThe pound sign (#) button if the telephone is touchtoneAfter 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 participatingSet up by a normal long distance operator or through conference call servicesSchedule a call by relaying pertinent information about time, date, and the individuals includedIt 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 personBilling to a third partyCollect callsRequests for time and chargesCertain calls placed from hotelsCredit for wrong numbersConference callsSome international callsOperator-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 systemsPlace phones where accessible but privateCourtesy phone for patients to use upon requestTwo 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 addressesAid in checking spelling of names and in locating certain businessesIntroductory pagesAlphabetic pages (white pages)Yellow pagesTake 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 calledEmergency numbers might be typed on a colored card or flagged with a colored tabOrganize 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 patientsInformation can be found in first few sections of telephone bookPatients often call the physician's office looking for information on various community resources.
63 Patient EducationRecordings that offer health information can play while patients wait on holdMessages about special events can be announcedPhone directories can offer listings of health informationSuch 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 phoneDo not place or receive personal phone calls during work hoursTelephone and message records may be brought into court as evidenceMake sure all messages are complete and legibleThe telephone is a business line and should be reserved for patients and others conducting business with the office.