Medical Office Management: Chapters 5 & 6

allowing the appropriate time for appointments
depends on type of practice, and preference of healthcare providers, new patients tend to have longer appointments
answering service
must have current information on how to reach the physician including any information of the on-call physician for after hours; take messages from patients after hours
appointment reminder cards
usually the size of a business card, contain the date, day, and time of the patient’s next appointment as well as the office’s name and telephone number
automated system
a telephone answering system that automatically picks up a telephone call electronically
automatic dialer
a telephone feature that allows users to automatically redial a number until someone answers the line
automatic routing unit
a telephone system that electronically answers and routes telephone calls after receiving a prompt from the caller
buffer time
a scheduling system for leaving certain times of day open to accommodate situations such as patients calling for same-day appointments; also known as slack time
call forwarding
a telephone feature that allows users to automatically forward calls to a different telephone number
cluster scheduling
a scheduling system in which several patients are booked around the same block of time
conference call
a telephone feature that allows numerous people to be on the same telephone call
direct telephone line
a feature that allows callers to dial directly to the desk of a person in the office
directing patient calls to physicians
the doctor will outline criteria for when they will accept patient calls; if the receptionist takes a message from the patient the patients chart along with the message should be given to the doctor
double booking
when two or more patients are scheduled to see the same healthcare provider at the same time
established patient
one who has been seen by one of the providers in the same specialty within the last 3 years
fixed appointment scheduling
a scheduling system in which each patient is given a specific appointment time
hands-free headset
a telephone answering system that allows the user to have their hands free while talking on the phone
hold feature
a telephone feature that allows the receptionist to place the caller in a queue in order to take another call
last number redial
a telephone feature that allows the user to redial the last number by pressing one button, rather than redialing the entire number
leaving messages
maintain confidentiality while on the telephone, change names that self-identifies the office (oncology, family planning), instead just state your name and the doctors name and do not disclose any information except contact information
a system for mapping out the appointment times available in the medical office
modified wave scheduling
a scheduling system in which two or three patients are scheduled at the beginning of each hour, followed by single patient appointments every 10-20 minutes for the rest of that hour
new patient
one who has not been seen in the medical office by any of the providers in the same specialty within the previous 3 years
new patient appointment info
patient’s legal full name, birth date, home, work, and mobile telephone numbers, reason for the patient’s visit to the office, length of time the patient has had the condition, name of referring physician (if applicable), insurance type, the patient’s need for directions to the medical office; also the new patient may be notified to provide a photo id, payment at the time of service, copy of the insurance card, copies of labs or x-rays (if applicable), and expected arrival time for the appointment
no show appoinments
patients who fail to arrive for their appointments and do not call to reschedule; medical offices must try to reach those patients usually 15-30 minutes after the scheduled appointment time to try and reschedule, if the patient can’t be reached the receptionist should leave a message, if neither way is possible of getting a hold of the patient the receptionist may try to reach the patient via mail
notifying patients of delays
receptionist should notify the patient of any delays and if requested reschedule the appointment and patients scheduled later on in the day should be called and notified of the delay as well and be offered to reschedule or come at a later time
open hours scheduling
a scheduling system in which patients are normally seen on a first-come, first-served basis, with no appointment necessary
prescription requests
when the patient calls for a prescription refill the receptionist should take down the patient’s name and telephone number, date of birth, name of the medication they wish to refill, and the name and telephone number of their pharmacy, then this information should be given to the doctor in order for them to make a decision on whether the prescription should be filled
prioritizing telephone calls
shorter calls may be from established patients calling to schedule an appointment or calls that merely needed to be routed to another staff person, longer calls may include calls from new patients; take care of shorter calls before the longer calls
reception area
quiet, clean, free of hazards, reading material based on the demographic of the office, seating to ensure patient comfort
slack time
a system for leaving certain times of day open to accommodate situations such as patients who call for same day appointments; also known as buffer time
speaker telephone
a type of telephone that allows multiple people in a room to participate in a phone conversation
telephone etiquette
answer the telephone by the fourth ring, answer with a smile, good manners, addressing the caller with respect such as Mr. or Mrs. and their last name instead of their first name, speak clearly, professionally, and identify yourself, keep a pen and paper nearby in case their is any information that needs to be taken down
telephone triage
placing telephone calls in priority order; may involve life threatening situations that may include: chest pain, heavy bleeding after an injury, bleeding in a pregnant woman, high fever in an infant or a very young child, severe asthma attack, severe shortness of breath, possible poisoning or allergic reaction, obvious broken bone, sudden confusion, loss of consciousness, or change in mental status, mention of suicide or harm to themselves or others
teletypewriter (TTY) system
a telephone system that allows for communication with a person who has a hearing impairment
transportation services
sometimes may be required to call for patients in order to get to or from an appointment
voice messaging system
an automated system that allows callers to leave a voice message for the intended recipient
wave scheduling
a scheduling system in which patients are scheduled only for the first half of each hour