Phone Etiquette: A Front Office Guide in Healthcare

Virtual Medical Assistants have a lot on their plate, and one big job is handling calls. It’s like the main link for good communication. In this blog, let’s take a closer look at what virtual medical assistants do, especially when it comes to managing calls. Come along as we explore seven important things and learn the tricks to being great at talking with patients over the phone in the digital world.

  1. Answering the Call:
    Begin with a warm greeting and identification, acknowledging that the healthcare facility is here to assist. Examples of openness include, “Hello and thank you for calling [Healthcare Facility Name]. This is [Your Name], ready to help you. How may I assist you today?”
  2. Active Listening:
    Actively listen to various concerns, understanding that calls can range from appointment scheduling to various inquiries. Use open-ended questions to encourage callers to share more about their specific needs, whether it’s appointment-related or other concerns.
  3. Speaking Slowly and Clearly:
    Continue to emphasize speaking slowly and clearly, especially when dealing with diverse inquiries. Adjust your pace depending on the nature of the call, ensuring clarity in discussing appointment details, medication information, or any other complex topics.
  4. Patient Empathy:
    Express empathy not only for appointment scheduling but also for various concerns. Recognize the potential stress callers may experience when canceling appointments, requesting medication refills, or dealing with other healthcare-related matters.
  5. Information Gathering:
    Collect accurate information for different types of inquiries. For example, when handling medication refill requests, ensure you gather essential details about the prescription. When canceling appointments, verify patient details and ask for reasons to improve service.
  6. Providing Information:
    Offer comprehensive details tailored to the specific inquiry. For medication refills, explain the process and any necessary information required. When canceling appointments, provide guidance on the proper procedure. Adapt your communication style based on the diverse nature of the calls.
  7. Effective Call Closure:
    Summarize the key points discussed during the call, offering assistance with additional questions. Regardless of the nature of the call, ensure a positive conclusion. For example, “Thank you for calling [Healthcare Facility Name]. If you have any more questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out. Have a great day!”

Handling Different Types of Inquiries:
Front office staff may encounter various inquiries, including appointment cancellations, relaying messages to doctors, medication refill requests, and prior authorization needs. Additionally, calls from external facilities like home health, hospice, other doctor’s offices, therapists, vendors, and more should be handled with professionalism and attention to detail.

Sample Call Script in a Doctor’s Office Setting:

Front Desk Assistant (FDA):
“Good morning! Thank you for calling [Doctor’s Office]. This is [Your Name], the front desk assistant. How may I assist you today?”

Patient (P):
“Hello, I need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Anderson.”

“Absolutely, I can help with that. May I have your name and date of birth, please?”

“It’s Susan Johnson, and my date of birth is May 5, 1982.”

“Thank you, Susan. Let me check Dr. Anderson’s schedule. How about we schedule your appointment for Thursday at 3 PM? Does that suit you?”

“Yes, Thursday at 3 PM works for me.”

“Perfect! Your appointment with Dr. Anderson is set for Thursday at 3 PM. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss or ask about your upcoming visit?”

“No, that’s all. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, Susan. If you have any more questions before your appointment, feel free to reach out. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday. Take care!”

“Thank you. Goodbye.”

“Goodbye, Susan. Have a great day!”

To sum it up, we’ve learned how to talk on patients in a friendly and helpful way. Saying hello nicely and helping with questions are all important. The key is to listen well, speak clearly, and be kind. Every phone call is a chance to make patients feel cared for. By being good at these things, front desk staff can make the doctor’s office a welcoming place for everyone. So, let’s keep talking nicely on the phone and making patients happy, one call at a time!


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