Medical Phone Call Manners

November 12, 2012

Working in a Medical Office

Whether a patient or a person working in a medical office, phone calls are always a touchy subject! There are three things to keep in mind when calling a patient or a medical provider’s office:

1) Always be overly prepared for any question or concern

2) Remember that you are part of the solution and it is not personal so keep your cool at all times

3) Don’t forget that this is a phone call and there is not a record of the phone call unless you enter that information into the electronic medical record

When you make phone calls to a provider, be polite and courteous to the person with whom you are speaking. Remember: You are part of the team. If you leave voicemail, give your name and phone number at the beginning and end of the message so the recipient is able to write down the information without replaying the message multiple times. This can be extra frustrating for the patient because phone calls aren’t returned as quickly but also frustrating if you are the one trying to get accurate patient information. A busy practice may get a lot of voicemail, and not a lot of time to spend on each one, so make your message clear and concise.

When you are calling a patient, use a clear and kind tone as you never know how that patient may be feeling. Unfortunately, most patients call when they aren’t feeling well so use extra caution. No one likes to deal with the business end of health care when they are not feeling well.

Patience is a virtue! You may not always get a call back right away but you should hear from someone by the end of the day if it is a medical issue. For a billing/coding question, those types of calls can wait a day or two before requiring a returned call and a lot of time they require a little more work on the provider’s end to get the patient the details they are asking.

Following these simple but important steps when making a phone call as a patient or to a patient, will help you to have a better day, everyday!