How Are Medical Answering Service Staff Trained to Take Calls?
A medical answering service staff needs special training, but how is that done? They need to be polite, take good notes, understand medical vocabulary, and more.
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression, as the saying goes. That might be even truer for medical answering service staff.
To learn how medical answering service staff can make an amazing first impression, read on.
Although phone calls have become less common in our personal lives and in younger generations, they’re still unavoidable at work. For some people, they’re a primary part of their jobs. Medical answering service staff are such people.
Before getting into how they should talk on the phone, let’s start with an underrated skill in today’s society: listening.
Medical answering service staff needs to be good listeners. They should listen carefully and well, never cutting the caller off. They should also say what the caller said back to them to confirm what they said and show that they listened.
Now we can get into talking. The medical answering service staff has to focus on many areas of phone etiquette, most of which come naturally to good speakers. Some of these areas require a heightened focus on your everyday speech patterns.
Staff should speak in a respectful tone at all times. They should modulate the level at which they speak, avoiding talking too loud or too softly. They should enunciate, speaking precisely, and clearly to prevent miscommunication.
Staff should always be sure to pronounce patients’ names properly out of respect. That goes for all other words too, that they should pronounce properly with the right diction. Staff need to do all of the above while speaking at a reasonable speed (not too fast or slow) and a pleasing pitch.
Medical Answering Service Wizardry
Medical answering is an art to be honed, with layers of skills and complexity.
Start by answering the phone within two to three rings. If receiving multiple calls, prioritize the first caller unless the second caller presents an emergency. Before putting a caller on hold, always ask them for their permission to do so.
When taking a message for a caller, include the caller’s name, number, the intended recipient of the message, the message itself, and the date and time of the call.
Medical calls take many forms. Although most are from patients, others are from medical sales representatives, insurance claims agents, laboratory personnel, and other physicians. Answering staff should never take personal calls on the job.
In this field, some calls will be an emergency. On emergency calls, staff should ask about the patient’s condition and symptoms. More importantly, they should tell them to call 911 immediately.
Another quirk of calls in this field is adhering to Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines. That means not discussing a patient’s information with anyone else and never putting a patient on speakerphone. It also means receiving permission from the patient to share their information with their friend or family member who calls and asks for it.
I’m Takin’ Calls, No Small Talk
Despite all of the proper medical etiquette described above, there is room for a bit of small talk on the phone in this business. A Physician answering service staff are human, after all, so they shouldn’t forget to act like it on the phone.
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