2 Learning Outcomes (cont.) 13.1 Explain the purpose of the telecommunications equipment commonly found in the medical office.13.2 Relate the five Cs of effective communication to telephone communication skills.Define the following terms involved in making a good impression on the telephone: telephone etiquette, pitch, pronunciation, enunciation, and tone
3 Learning Outcomes (cont.) 13.4 Describe how to appropriately handle the different types of calls coming into the medical practice.13.5 Summarize the purpose of the office routing list in regards to call screening.13.6 Carry out the procedure for taking a complete telephone message.13.7 Outline the preparation required prior to making outgoing calls and the skills used in making the phone call.
4 Introduction Telecommunications Telephone Other communication devices EtiquetteRouting callsTriaging callsMessagesOther communication devicesLearning Outcome: Explain the purpose of the telecommunications equipment commonly found in the medical office.It is important to use proper telephone etiquette to effectively handle various types of incoming and outgoing calls.Slang and abbreviations used in texting and private s are inappropriate.You must be able to differentiate the types of calls that come into the office in order to route them correctly.You must also be able to properly and effectively triage (prioritize) calls so that emergencies are handled correctly.Other communication devices are used in the medical office include automated telephone menu equipment, voic , answering services and machines, TDDs, cell phones, and pagers.
5 Telecommunications Equipment Telephone systemMulti-line telephonesAutomated voice response unitAnswer callsMake reminder callsPatient surveysLearning Outcome: Explain the purpose of the telecommunications equipment commonly found in the medical office.Telephone system - primary communication tool for the medical office.Most modern medical offices have a telephone system that includes several telephones and multiple lines for incoming or outgoing calls, an intercom system, and the ability to transfer calls, leave voic , and put calls on hold.The automated voice response unitAutomatically answers all callsA recorded voice offers the caller various options for routing the call.Provides greater flexibility for the medical staffOffers enhanced service to the patient, allowing direct access to the type of assistance required.Do not use more than three menu levelsThe first option should always be instructions if the call is regarding an emergency.There should also be an option for the caller to “dial zero at any time to reach the operator.”Automated phone systems can be used to remind patients of upcoming appointments, allow them to leave messages for staff, conduct patient surveys and give patient test results through a privacy mechanism.
6 Telecommunications Equipment (cont.) VoicAnswering machineAnswering serviceLearning Outcome: Explain the purpose of the telecommunications equipment commonly found in the medical office.Voice mailThe caller never receives a busy signal.A more secure system; requires a password to retrieve messagesAnswering MachineA typical recorded message announces that the office is closed and states the usual business hours and must always indicate how the caller can reach the covering physician in the case of an emergency.The medical assistant is usually responsible for retrieving these messages at the start of each day, and if the office closes for a lunch break, to check for messages after this break as well.Never use the speaker phone; this could breach of patient confidentialityAnswering Service – provides actual people who answer the telephone, take messages, and communicate them to the physician on call.
7 Cell Phones – Personal and Business Use Personal useBe considerate of othersOffice policyBusiness useLearning Outcome: Explain the purpose of the telecommunications equipment commonly found in the medical office.Cell phone use is so widespread that cell phone etiquette is a key concern.Personal cell phones should be turned off while inside a medical office. Post signs requesting that cell phones be shut off when entering the office or at least when patients are in the treatment areas as they can interfere with other electronic equipmentPhysicians may use a cell phone to respond quickly to a message from staff or a hospital. Office staff may use personal cell phones in the case of emergency when traditional phone systems fail.If your medical office allows staff and patient cell phone use, make sure it is clearly noted in which areas cell phone use is permitted and when employees may use personal cell phones may be used.
8 Pagers (Beepers) Technology Calling a pager Interactive pagers Two-way communicationTraditional page capabilities alsoLearning Outcome: Explain the purpose of the telecommunications equipment commonly found in the medical office.Pagers are in use in some areas where where cell phone signals are not as reliable.Technology of Paging – each paging device is assigned a telephone number. When the number is called, the pager picks up the signal and beeps, buzzes, or vibrates to indicate a call has been made. There may be a window that either displays the caller’s telephone number or a short message.Traditional paging processLook up and dial the pager number.Listen for a high-pitched tone, which signals the connection between the telephone and pager.Dial the telephone number call-back number, followed by the pound sign.Listen for a beep or series of beeps signaling that the page has been transmitted.Hang up the phone.Interactive pagersDisplays a printed message and allows the physician to respond using a mini-keyboard.Each has its own wireless Internet address and can communicate with other I-pagers.I-pagers can also send messages to traditional telephones.
9 Patient courtesy phone Block long distanceKeeps business lines freeLimit timeLearning Outcome: Explain the purpose of the telecommunications equipment commonly found in the medical office.The widespread use of cell phones has pretty much eliminated the need, but a few medical offices still have a patient courtesy phone, usually located in the reception area.Allows patients to call for transportation or contact family membersPost guidelines for useCalls usually limited to 5 minutes
10 Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf Specially designed telephoneMessage is typed and relayed toAnother TDDTelecommunications relay service (TRS)Learning Outcome: Explain the purpose of the telecommunications equipment commonly found in the medical office.A TDD is a specially designed telephone that looks very much like a laptop with a cradle for the telephone receiver.The patient places the telephone receiver in the cradle and instead of speaking, types his message using the TDD keyboard. If the office has a TDD, the message will be received in typed format on the TDD screen.If the office does not have TDD equipment, the message may still be received through the use of a telecommunications relay service (TRS). You will reply to the patient via the operator with spoken word, which she will then enter into the TDD device so the patient can read your reply.Refer to Procedure 13-1 Using a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD)
11 Apply Your KnowledgeA personal emergency call has been received for the physician, who is currently not in the office. Which device or service would the medical assistant use to contact the physician?ANSWER: The medical assistant may call the physician on his cell phone or use a pager or interactive pager to contact a physician who is out of the office.Learning Outcome: Explain the purpose of the telecommunications equipment commonly found in the medical office.Hello! Right Answer!!!!
12 Effective Telephone Communication Present a positive imageConvey a caring, attentive and helpful imageProfessional and knowledgeableLearning Outcome: 13.2 Relate the five Cs of effective communication to telephone communication skills.The telephone is an important tool for promoting the positive, professional image.When you answer the telephone, you may be the first contact a person has with the practice.The impression you leave can be either positive or negative. Your job is to ensure that it is positive.The image you present over the phone should convey the message that the staff is caring, attentive, and helpful. You must also sound professional and knowledgeable when handling telephone calls.
13 Communication Skills Using tact and sensitivity Showing empathy Giving respectBeing genuineBeing open and friendlyNot passing judgment or stereotyping otherLearning Outcome: 13.2 Relate the five Cs of effective communication to telephone communication skills.The telephone is an essential communication and public relations tool for the efficient operation of the medical office.Excellent communication skills are important in telephone management because they help project a positive image and satisfy the patient’s needs and expectations.Individuals who are adept at effective communication employ these communications skills.
14 Communication Skills (cont.) Being supportiveAsking for clarification and feedbackParaphrasing to ensure understandingBeing receptive to the patient’s needsKnowing when to speak and when to listenConsiders other viewpointsLearning Outcome: 13.2 Relate the five Cs of effective communication to telephone communication skills.
15 Communication Skills (cont.) CompleteConciseClearThe 5 CsofCommunicationLearning Outcome: 13.2 Relate the five Cs of effective communication to telephone communication skills.As a medical assistant, you should also apply the five Cs of communication to allow you to be effective when using the telephone. Use the same care with oral communication as you use when composing written communication.Completeness – the message must contain all necessary information.Clarity – the message must be legible and free from ambiguity.Conciseness – the message must be brief and direct.Courtesy – the message must be respectful and considerate of others.Cohesiveness – the message must be organized and logical.CohesiveCourteous
16 Guidelines for Using the Telephone Effectively Answer promptlyHold the mouthpiece about an inch away from your mouthLeave one hand free to write withGive the practice name and your nameAcknowledge the caller, be willing to assistLearning Outcome: 13.2 Relate the five Cs of effective communication to telephone communication skills.When answering the phone, do so promptly by the second or third ring.Hold the mouthpiece about an inch away from your mouth and leave one hand free to write with.Greet the caller first with the practice name, then with your name.Acknowledge the caller. Demonstrate your willingness to assist..
17 Guidelines for Using the Telephone Effectively Always be courteous, calm, and pleasantIdentify the nature of the call, devote full attention to the callerAllow caller to hang up first; say goodbye and use the caller’s nameComply with HIPAA guidelinesLearning Outcome: 13.2 Relate the five Cs of effective communication to telephone communication skills.Be courteous, calm, and pleasant no matter how hurried you are.Identify the nature of the call and devote your full attention to the caller.Allow the caller to hang up first to be sure all questions have been answered. Always say goodbye and use the caller’s name.Following HIPAA GuidelinesAs a general rule, patient information should not be revealed over the phone unless you are speaking directly to the patient or have written consent from the patient to speak to another person about his condition.Always follow your office policy and procedures manual with regard to disclosing patient information.
18 Certainly! Apply Your Knowledge What should effective telephone communication convey?ANSWER: It should convey :A positive, professional image of the medical practiceThat the staff is caring, attentive, and helpfulThat the staff is knowledgeableLearning Outcome: 13.2 Relate the five Cs of effective communication to telephone communication skills.Certainly!
19 Telephone Etiquette Your telephone voice Speak directly into the receiverSmileVisualize the callerBe friendly, respectful, helpful, and alertLearning Outcome: Define the following terms involved in making a good impression on the telephone: telephone etiquette, pitch, pronunciation, enunciation, and tone.Proper telephone etiquette means handling all calls politely and professionally using good manners. Your professionalism and caring attitude must come through the phone to the caller.Your Telephone Voice – customer service is critical when using the telephone. Your voice must present your message effectively and professionally.Use the following tips to make your voice pleasant and effective.Speak directly into the receiver or your voice will be difficult to understand.Smile. The smile in your voice will convey your friendliness and willingness to helpVisualize the caller, and speak directly to that person.Convey a friendly and respectful interest in the caller.You should sound helpful and alert.
20 Telephone Etiquette Your telephone voice Use non-technical language Use a normal tone, but attempt to vary your pitchMake the caller feel importantLearning Outcome: Define the following terms involved in making a good impression on the telephone: telephone etiquette, pitch, pronunciation, enunciation, and tone.Your telephone voice (cont.)Use language that is nontechnical and easy to understand. Never use slang.Speak at a natural pace, not too quickly or too slowly.Use a normal conversational tone.Try to vary your pitch. Pitch is the high or low level of your speech. It allows you to emphasize words and makes your voice more pleasant.Make the caller feel important.
21 Your Telephone Voice Tone Pronunciation Enunciation Saying words correctlyPronunciationTonePositive and respectfulClear and distinct speakingEnunciationLearning Outcome: Define the following terms involved in making a good impression on the telephone: telephone etiquette, pitch, pronunciation, enunciation, and tone.Proper pronunciation (saying words correctly) is one of the most important telephone skills. If you are unsure of the correct pronunciation of the name of the person on the phone, ask them to repeat it for you.Enunciation is clear and distinct speaking.This is very important because the speaker cannot be seen.Correct interpretation of the message is determined by hearing the words precisely.Activities like chewing gum, eating, or propping the phone between the ear and shoulder hinder proper enunciation.ToneBecause you are not face-to-face with the caller, the most important measurements of good telephone communication are voice quality and tone.Always speak with a positive and respectful tone.
22 Making a Good Impression Exhibiting courtesyGiving undivided attentionPutting a call on holdAsk the purposeAsk permissionOffer to call backReturn to caller frequentlyLearning Outcome: Define the following terms involved in making a good impression on the telephone: telephone etiquette, pitch, pronunciation, enunciation, and tone.How you handle telephone calls will have an impact on the medical practice’s public image.Exhibiting CourtesyUsing common courtesy is a characteristic of professional office personnel.Courtesy is expressed by projecting an attitude of helpfulness.Giving Undivided Attention – do not try to answer the telephone while continuing to carry out another task.Putting a Call on HoldAlways allow the caller to state the purpose of the call prior to placing the caller on hold.Ask permission to put the caller on hold and wait for the response.If the wait will be lengthy, offer to call back instead of placing the caller on holdReturn to the caller at 2-minute intervals
23 Making a Good Impression (cont.) Returning callsRemembering patient namesChecking for understandingLearning Outcome: Define the following terms involved in making a good impression on the telephone: telephone etiquette, pitch, pronunciation, enunciation, and tone.Returning Patient CallsExplain the situations and offer to call back in a few minutes or at a time that is convenient to the caller.Obtain the caller’s name and phone number.Be sure to apologize for the inconvenience and thank the caller for her patience.Remembering Patient Names – using a caller’s name during a conversation makes the caller feel important.Checking for UnderstandingIf a call is long or complicated, summarize what was said to be sure that both you and the caller understand the information.If a situation requires a lengthy conversation, it might be best to have the patient come into the office or to follow up the phone call with a written summary of the discussion.Do not forget to document the call in the patient’s medical record.
24 Making a Good Impression (cont.) Communicating feelings – empathyEnding the conversationSummarize important pointsThank the caller for callingAllow the caller to hang up firstLearning Outcome: Define the following terms involved in making a good impression on the telephone: telephone etiquette, pitch, pronunciation, enunciation, and tone.Communicating Feelings – when dealing with a caller who is nervous, upset, or angry, try to show empathy. This helps caller feel more positive about the conversation and the medical office.Ending the ConversationComplete the call so that the caller feels properly cared for and satisfied.Summarize the important points of the conversation and thank the caller.Let the caller hang up first.Occasionally, you will encounter the patient who simply will not hang up. Politely but firmly explain that another patient (or the physician) needs your assistance and you must complete the call.
25 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.Learning Outcome: Define the following terms involved in making a good impression on the telephone: telephone etiquette, pitch, pronunciation, enunciation, and tone.Very Good!
26 Types of Incoming Calls From PatientsMedical Assistant RoleAppointmentsMake or change appointmentsBilling InquiriesClarify bill or chargesHelp set up payment arrangements if possibleDiagnostic ReportsDocument what information is given to the patientQuestions about MedicationsGet approval for renewalsAnswer questions about medicationsLearning Outcome: Describe how to appropriately handle the different types of calls coming into the medical practice.Pull the patient’s chart as this will enable you to address any problems quickly, allowing you to document the conversation immediately. The office policy manual typically specifies what you may and may not discuss with patients.Appointments – take caller’s name, daytime telephone number, and reason for visit. Repeat information to verify.Billing inquiries – pull the patient’s billing information and possibly the medical record as well. If a patient is dissatisfied for any reason, document all appropriate comments and relay the information to the physician or office manager.Requests for Laboratory or Radiology Reports – if results are abnormal, physician must speak with patient. Tell patient the office has received the results and the physician will call as soon as possible.Questions about medications – all prescription renewals must be documented in the patient’s medical record, along with the date and the initials of the person who authorized the renewal.Refer to CONNECT to see a video on how to Manage a Prescription Refill .
27 Types of Incoming Calls (cont.) From PatientsMedical Assistant RoleReports of SymptomsListen carefully and documentSchedule appointment as neededProgress ReportsRoute follow-up calls to the physicianDocument call in patient recordRequests for AdviceDo not give any medical adviceComplaintsRemain calm and listen carefullyApologize for any inconveniencesFollow through to resolve issueLearning Outcome: Describe how to appropriately handle the different types of calls coming into the medical practice.Reports on SymptomsIf the patient is in real distress, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.Write down the patient’s symptoms completely, accurately, and immediately. In many instances, the physician may be able to suggest simple emergency relief measures that you can relay to the patient.Progress Reports: patients may call the office to let the doctor know how a prescribed treatment is working. It is important that the medical assistant relay the information to the doctor and log the call in the patient’s medical record.Guidelines for dealing with an angry callerListen carefully and acknowledge the person’s angerRemain calm, speak gently and kindly; do not interrupt the patient; do not act superior or talk down to the patientLet the patient know that you will do your best to correct the problemTake careful notes and document the callDo not become defensive and do not make promises you cannot keepFollow up promptly on the problemInform the physician regardless of the outcome of the call
28 Types of Incoming Calls (cont.) AttorneysOther physiciansSalespeopleConference callsLearning Outcome: Describe how to appropriately handle the different types of calls coming into the medical practice.A patient’s information is confidential. HIPAA requires medical providers to obtain authorization from the patient before any information can be disclosed.Attorneys – follow the office policies and procedures for calls from attorneys.Other physicians – exceptionIf information is requested by a physician to whom your office has referred the patient for care, you may release medical information specific to the care. Because of the referral, there is a contract involved for continuity of care.Salespeople – follow office policyConference callsNewer telephone equipment can provide teleconferencingThere are also services that provide “call-in conferencing.”
29 Apply Your Knowledge Excellent! 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.Learning Outcome: Describe how to appropriately handle the different types of calls coming into the medical practice.Excellent!
30 Managing Incoming Calls Screening callsFind out who is callingAsk the purpose of the callDecide how the call should be put throughDetermine what to do if it is personalLearning Outcome: Summarize the purpose of the office routing list in regards to call screening.Screening involves deciding which calls should be put through immediately and which calls are better handled by taking a message and allowing a callback at a more convenient time. The procedure will remain basically the same, whether the calls come directly to you as you answer the phone or if they are directed to you by a telephone answering system.Refer to Points on Practice: Screening Incoming Calls
31 Routing Calls Calls requiring the physician’s attention Emergency callsCalls from other physiciansPatient requests regarding test resultsPatient requests to discuss their symptomsRequests for prescription renewalsPersonal callsLearning Outcome: Summarize the purpose of the office routing list in regards to call screening.The types of calls can be separated into three distinct groups: calls dealing mainly with administrative issues; emergency calls; and calls relating to clinical issues. Refer to Procedure 13-3 Screening and Routing Telephone CallsCalls Requiring the Physician’s AttentionEmergency calls that include serious or life-threatening medical conditionsCalls from other doctorsPatient requests to discuss test results, particularly abnormal results;Reports from patients concerning unsatisfactory progress;Requests for prescription renewals (unless authorized in the patient’s chart)Personal calls.If a patient wishes to discuss symptoms only with the doctor, follow office protocol.If someone calls the office on behalf of a patient who is experiencing any symptoms or conditions listed on Table 13-2, instruct the caller to dial 911 to request an ambulance.Refer to Table 13-2 Symptoms and Conditions Requiring Immediate Medical Assistance and to Procedure 13-4 Handling Emergency Calls
32 Routing Calls (cont.) Calls handled by the medical assistant AppointmentsBilling inquiriesInsurance questionsDiagnostic reportsGeneral administrative questionsThe Routing ListReports from hospitals and patientsReferral requestsPrescriptionPatient complaintsLearning Outcome: Summarize the purpose of the office routing list in regards to call screening.The most common calls to a medical office involve administrative and clinical issues.Prescription renewals – if approval for the renewal is not noted in the patient’s chart, discuss it with the physician and have the physician sign off on the chart before calling the renewal in to the patient’s pharmacy.Depending on the practice, the office manager or someone in the billing department may handle some administrative calls.The Routing List – specifies who is responsible for the various types of calls in the office and how the calls are to be handled.
33 Telephone Triage Learn the Triage Process Proper training Guidelines forCommon questions or conditionsObtaining informationLearning Outcome: Summarize the purpose of the office routing list in regards to call screening.Learning the Triage ProcessOffice staff training is vital in providing safe, sound, and cost-effective medical care over the telephone.Guidelines are often written for common questions.It is the staff’s responsibility is to determine whether a caller needs additional medical care. They cannot diagnose or treat the patient’s problem.Office often provide guidelines outline the specific information the telephone staff must obtain from the patient.
34 Telephone Triage Categorize problems Provide patient education Guidelines help determine severityAdvice over phoneCome to officeGo to an emergency roomProvide patient educationRecommendations based on symptomsDocumentLearning Outcome: Summarize the purpose of the office routing list in regards to call screening.Categorizing Problems and Providing Patient EducationGuidelines also help the staff categorize the problem according to severity.Decide if the problem can be handled safely with advice over the telephone, whether the patient needs to come into the office, or whether the problem requires immediate attention at an emergency room.If a problem is deemed appropriate for telephone management, the guidelines may include recommendations for nonprescription treatmentThis information falls under the category of patient education. Advise the caller that recommendations are based on the symptoms and are not a diagnosis.Ask the caller to repeat any instructions you give, and tell the patient to call back within a specified time if symptoms do not improve or worsen.Document in the medical record the critical elements of the conversation.
35 Apply Your Knowledge Great! What is the purpose for a routing list? ANSWER: It enables the person answering the telephone to direct the caller to the correct person.Great!Learning Outcome: Summarize the purpose of the office routing list in regards to call screening.
36 Taking Complete and Accurate Phone Messages Documenting callsProtects the physician against legal actionDocument in the patient recordClinical issuesReferralsMessages must be accurate and legibleLearning Outcome: Carry out the procedure for taking a complete telephone message.Always have paper or telephone message pad and pen near the telephone so that you are prepared to write down messages.Proper documentation protects the physician if the caller takes legal action. It should be included in a patient’s file or electronic health record.
37 Documenting Calls Telephone message pad Date and time of call Who it is forCaller’s name and telephone numberActionMessageYour name or initialsLearning Outcome: Carry out the procedure for taking a complete telephone message.Telephone Message PadsDate and time of the callName of the person for whom you took the messageCaller’s name, or the patient’s name if different from the callerCaller’s telephone number (always include the area code and extension, if any)A description or an action to be taken, including comments like “Urgent,” “Please call back,” “Wants to see you,” “Will call back,” or “Returned your call”The complete message, such as “Dr. Stephenson wants to reschedule the committee meeting”Name or initials of the person taking the call
38 Documenting Calls (cont.) Telephone call logsManualElectronicAccurate messagesHave pen and paper availableTake notes as the information is givenVerify information and callback numberPatient DOBNever make a commitment for the physicianLearning Outcome: Carry out the procedure for taking a complete telephone message.The Manual Telephone Log – spiral-bound, perforated message book with carbonless forms to record messages. The top copy, or original, of each message is given to the appropriate person, and a copy is kept in the book for reference.The Electronic Telephone Log – the message is keyed in as it is received, creating an automatic backup copy for the office record. A copy of the message can be stored in an electronic record, printed out, or ed as needed.Tips for Ensuring Accurate MessagesAlways have a pen and paper on hand.Jot down notes as the information is given.Verify information, especially the spelling of patient or caller names and the correct spelling of medications.Patient DOB in case you need to pull the patient’s chartVerify the correct callback number.Never make a commitment on behalf of the physician.
39 Taking Messages (cont.) Maintaining patient confidentialityDo not repeat any confidential information over the telephoneMaintain confidentiality with written messagesLearning Outcome: Carry out the procedure for taking a complete telephone message.Maintaining Patient ConfidentialityBe aware of the people around you and the volume of your voice when protected health information.Insert messages in a folder marked “Confidential” so it cannot be readily seen by others.
40 Apply Your Knowledge Answer True or False to the following: Right!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.TTFLearning Outcome: Carry out the procedure for taking a complete telephone message.Date of birthT
41 Placing Outgoing Calls Locating telephone numbersPatient recordOffice file of commonly used numbersTelephone directory, directory assistance, or the InternetArea codesLearning Outcome: Outline the preparation required prior to making outgoing calls and the skills used in making the phone call.Check the time zone and time of day in the location you are calling before placing a long-distance call.Front of phone bookTelephone operatorInternet:Locating Telephone NumbersA patient’s telephone number – in the patient’s chartA telephone directory, Internet phone directory, or call directory assistanceA card file, a list, or an electronic record of commonly used telephone numbers, or in the office policies and procedures manualLong-distance telephone numbers –directory assistance services, however, most carriers charge a fee for using the serviceInternational dialing codes – Internet and directory assistance servicesFinding area codes online
42 Placing Outgoing Calls (cont.) Applying your telephone skillsPlan before you callDouble-check the numberAllow time for the person to answerIdentify yourselfLearning Outcome: Outline the preparation required prior to making outgoing calls and the skills used in making the phone call.Plan before you callHave all the information you need in front of you before you dial the telephone number.Plan what you will say, and decide what questions to ask so you will not have to call back for additional information.Double-check the telephone number.Before placing a call, always confirm the number.If you do dial a wrong number, apologize for the mistake.Allow enough time for someone to answer the phoneAt least a minute or about eight ringsIf the patient is elderly or physically disabled, allow additional time.Identify yourself – after reaching the person to whom you placed the call, give your name and state that you are calling on behalf of the doctor or practice.
43 Placing Outgoing Calls (cont.) Applying your telephone skillsAsk if the time is convenientBe ready to speak when the person answersBe sure the person has paper and pencil if you are giving informationLearning Outcome: Outline the preparation required prior to making outgoing calls and the skills used in making the phone call.Ask if you have called at a convenient time and whether the person has time to talk with you. If it is not a good time, ask when you should call back.Be ready to speak as soon as the person you called answers the telephone. Do not waste the person’s time while you collect your thoughts.If you are calling to give information, ask if the person has a pencil and piece of paper available. Do not begin with dates, times, or instructions until the person is ready to write down the information.
44 Placing Outgoing Calls (cont.) Reaching voic or answering machineLeave only enough information for the patient to callbackComply with HIPAA lawLearning Outcome: Outline the preparation required prior to making outgoing calls and the skills used in making the phone call.On occasion, you must leave a message on a patient’s answering machine or voic . You must conform to HIPAA law when doing so.Leave a message with enough information to get the patient to call back.Leave the following information:The name of the individual for whom the message is intended.The date and time of the call.The name of your office or practice only if it does not reveal the purpose of the call.Your name as the contact person in the office.The phone number of your office or practice.The hours the office is open for a return call.A release may be added to the patient record so that messages may be left on an answering machine or voic .A second release may also be added stating who else the office may speak to as well as that person’s relationship to the patient.
45 Placing Outgoing Calls (cont.) Retrieving messages from answering system or serviceSet a regular schedule and call at scheduled timesVerify the informationArranging conference callsRemember the different time zonesSuggest several time slots as optionsLearning Outcome: Outline the preparation required prior to making outgoing calls and the skills used in making the phone call.Refer to Procedure 13-5 Retrieving Messages from an Answering Service or SystemArranging conference callsCalls between several people at different locationsRemember the different time zonesSuggest several time slots as optionsThe office phone system will likely have an option allowing you to set up a conference call. If it does not, there are services available that will allow you to do so. Two such services can be found at: and
46 Apply Your KnowledgeWhat do you need to do to make an outgoing call?ANSWER:Plan – have all information available before dialingDouble-check the phone numberAllow adequate time for the person to answerIdentify yourselfAsk if the time is convenientBe ready to speak when the person answersBe sure the person has paper and pencil if you are giving informationLearning Outcome: Outline the preparation required prior to making outgoing calls and the skills used in making the phone call.PERFECT!r
47 In Summary13.1 Telecommunications equipment found in the medical office includes: multi-line phone for incoming and outgoing calls; automated voice response unit to route calls automatically to the correct person or department; answering machine or answering service to pick up calls and messages; and cell phones and/or beepers to reach medical staff when they are not in the office. Additionally, a patient courtesy phone and/or a TDD may be found in the office.Telecommunications equipment found in the medical office includes: multi-line phone for incoming and outgoing calls, which may include voic for picking up messages; automated voice response unit to route calls automatically to the correct person or department using a series of prompts, answered by the caller; answering machine or answering service to pick up calls and messages when the office is extremely busy or after business hours; and cell phones and/or beepers to reach medical staff when they are not in the office.Additionally, a patient courtesy phone and/or a TDD may be found in the office—the first for patient convenience and the latter for communication with deaf patients.
48 In Summary (cont.)13.2 The five Cs of effective communication are important in all types of communication and the telephone is no exception. All forms of communication are more easily understood using these principles Telephone etiquette means to handle all calls professionally and politely using good manners. Pitch is the high or low level of your voice, projecting interest in what you are saying. Pronunciation is saying words correctly and enunciation is saying them clearly. Tone projects how you are feeling; in the office, your tone should always be positive and respectful.13.2 The five Cs of effective communication are important in all types of communication and the telephone is no exception.All forms of communication are more easily understood using these principles: completeness of the message, clarity of the message, conciseness of the information, courtesy when delivering the message, and cohesiveness (logic and organization) of the message.
49 In Summary (cont.)13.4 The medical assistant may receive calls from patients, attorneys, and others. Always refer to the office policies and procedures manual regarding how to handle incoming calls appropriately. Remember, always be courteous to the caller.
50 In Summary (cont.)Screening calls categorizes the importance of the call in regards to how quickly the patient’s problem or question needs to be handled.The routing list is a guideline for the entire staff to recognize which types of calls should go to each member of the medical staff, following office protocol as to the duties and scope of practice for each team member.
51 In Summary (cont.)13.6 In addition to complete information from the caller regarding what the call is about, each complete telephone message should contain the following information: date and time of the call; name of the person for whom the message was taken; the caller’s name and name of the patient (if different from the caller); the caller’s telephone number with area code; a description or action to be taken; a complete and concise message; and the name or initials of the person taking the message.
52 In Summary (cont.)13.7 Prior to placing an outgoing call, be sure to have all necessary information in front of you, including the name of the person to be reached and the correct phone number.Dial the number carefully, identifying yourself when the phone is answered, asking for the person you need to reach.As always, use the five Cs of communication to complete the exchange.
53 When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. End of Chapter 13When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.~ Ernest Hemmingway